Peter’s Never Never

Beginning with Peter the disciple, Jesus has heard it all. Never, never. Famous last words. I’ve had many “Never, Never” statements. Every time, God just shakes His head and chuckles. (I’m almost positive!) How many times have you and I said, “I will never do this or say that…?”

During this Holy Week, I’ve been reading through Matthew’s and John’s gospels about the Passion of Christ. I’m struck by all the human flailing and failing. It’s like one huge mirror that reflects all of humanity’s brokenness. Mine included.

Today, Maunday Thursday, is when we remember Jesus’ final meal with his friends. And the betrayal that followed. It’s worth remembering Jesus knew everything that would go down in the next few hours…

Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

Never-Never. The disciples all said the same thing. We’ve all said the same thing. Jesus knew the sincerity of Peter’s “Never-Never” statement. He also knew the human frailty behind Peter’s words.

Later, as Peter tried to warm himself by the fire, it’s as if his first denial was like throwing gasoline on the fire of his betrayal…whoosh! One denial led to another. Then cursing. Then swearing. A whole conflagration of fear, lies,  and denial.

Lord, have mercy. I’m no different than Peter.

Questions: In what ways are you and I like Peter? What very real human emotions do you think Jesus was feeling when Peter promised his loyalty to Jesus? And then, when Peter crumbled?

I’d love your comments, thoughts and reflections on this powerful story.

Painting: And Peter Wept oil on canvas by Wayne Forte

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, snarky or off-topic.

  • Bridget Willard

    I love that after the resurrection Jesus has a fire–a fire that makes breakfast. Peter sees Jesus and jumps to the sea to swim to shore. I love how Jesus questions Peter to both bring him into reconciliation and as a confession of sorts.

    • Joey O’Connor

      Whoa! Whoa! All great points Bridget, but we still have a few days to go! Yes, I love that Jesus made a beach fire. Fresh fish and hot bread. It’s such a great picture of intimate fellowship and restoration when Jesus forgives Peter. Thanks for sharing!

    • Joey O’Connor

      This is one of my favorite stories Bridget. Jesus always picks the perfect location and sets a great table!

    • Joey O’Connor

      This is one of my favorite stories Bridget. Jesus always picks the perfect location and sets a great table!

  • Erica

    check out this song written from peter’s perspective – it shares what we all go through at times.

    • Joey O’Connor

      Thanks for sharing this song Erica with the Art, Life & Faith community. I look forward to listening to it.

  • Eileen

    Enjoying your blog.  Thanks for the twitter follow.   I once referred to our ability to be just like Peter as having “a case of the I would nevers”  We are all guilty of this.  And, Peter, the guy who walked on water with Jesus still had issues trusting Christ fully.  This is just like us.  God does something amazing in our lives and then we forget and begin to doubt again.  I love the example we have in Peter and the grace Jesus shows him.

    • Joey O’Connor

      Thank you Eileen for your kind words. I make my “Never, Never” statements and God laughs. I have often prayed, “Lord, help me not to be a forgetful follower.” Your words are so true and right. Thank you!