Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.
But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”
Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
This passage always hits me like a ton of bricks. Peter is afraid, ashamed, frustrated with Jesus for abandoning him, sad that Jesus has been arrested. There are numerous reasons why Peter wants nothing to do with Jesus during this dark time. And there is always a litany of reasons for us to reject Jesus on a daily basis.
Even my typing the words “reject Jesus” feels aggressive, but I think we do it, and we need to accept that. We are like Peter when we choose to grab our phones instead of our bibles in the morning. We are like Peter when we choose to skip church because we want to sleep in, or get that yard work done, or because our kids won’t stay in Sunday School. We are like Peter when we feel like we’re supposed to reach out to someone, but we’re afraid so we don’t. We are like Peter when God calls us to something, and we don’t do it.
But again, the beauty of this story is that Peter becomes the rock of the church (Matthew 16:18). You guys, he is the disciple that God chooses to build the church on. He screwed up big time, yet God uses him, and he’ll use us. At the end of this passage, Peter wept bitterly. He came humbly to God with his mess, and God used him to build the church.
How have we rejected God? Let us humbly come to him, ask for forgiveness, and ask him to use us anyway.
Fold a piece of paper in half twice so you have four squares.
Read the story and as you read have them draw each scene in a square. (Example: Peter sitting with servant girl, Peter at the gate with servant girl, Peter with a group of men, Peter crying)
Ask the kids why Peter pretended he didn’t know Jesus, and why he was sad at the end.
Remind them that even though Peter denied knowing Jesus, Jesus still loved him, and died for him. And no matter what they do, Jesus still loves them, too.
On the back of the paper have them write or draw that Jesus loves Peter, and them, too!