Day 38 - The Tale of Two Responses

Day 38 - The Tale of Two Responses

Written by: Staci Lawrence

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭26:57-64, 69-75 ESV‬‬
59 Now the chief priests and the whole council[a] were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, 60 but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward 61 and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’” 62 And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”[b] 63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

You’re a liar! You’re nothing! You don’t know what you are talking about! You aren’t who you say you are and there is no way your lies can be true! These are harsh statements that we may have all heard at one time in our life. They cut to the core and leave wounds that often go unhealed. They leave scars that can last a lifetime and make us view ourselves in ways that only the world believes about us.
I’ve heard these words spoken against me, and they hurt. They caused damage to my soul that made me want to lash out in anger, fear, and anguish. I wanted to hurt my accuser as badly as they hurt me. Fire boiled in me, and flowed out of me in ways that are now embarrassing. And, I wanted to be mean, hateful, and hurtful. I wanted them to pay for what they said to and about me.
Jesus faced far greater persecution than I ever could imagine, and the physical punishment hadn’t even begun. Yet His only response was His calm proclamation of his eternal seat at the right hand of the Throne.
Immediately following his sentencing, Jesus’ friend, Peter, began a verbal exchange that seems to lead to a heated argument with some in the crowd. They began yelling, calling Peter names, making accusations. Peter’s fear before these onlookers stood in stark contrast to the silent and courageous dignity of Jesus before the council.  Peter’s argument and verbal denial was a clear illustration of the sin of the world. In the presence of hostile company, he totally compromised his integrity and his friendship.  The flesh, the human person in social relationships, had indeed proved weak.
Matthew had constructed his narrative to bring into clear relief the difference between Jesus and Peter:
  • In Gethsemane, Jesus had prayed three times; Peter had fallen asleep three times.
  • At Caiaphas’s palace, Jesus was accused three times, and maintained his integrity; Peter was accused three times, and compromised his integrity
Peter’s response to his accusers was far different than that of Jesus’. Peter’s response was the way the world would want him, or encourage him to respond. Yet, if we are called to be the children of God, made in His image, our responses to those that accuse and threaten us must be different than those of the world. Our integrity must be far greater.
In these days leading up to the death of our Savior, we should reflect on our responses to others. Are they harsh and accusing, or are they calm and filled with affirmation? I’d like to encourage you to visualize this scene the next time you are in a heated situation. May your responses be more like Jesus than Peter.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your constant love. Thank you for the calm and soothing balm that flows into us through your Holy Spirit. We know we are sinners, but your love overcomes that since through the death and resurrection of your Son. Help my heart overflow with your love and not the hate of the world. Amen.