Beneath in the Palace
“And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands. And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.”
While Jesus was suffering for declaring that he was the Christ, Peter was warming himself below in the palace and denying that he even knew Christ.
What a contrast.
Blending in with the crowd
Speaking the truth
Cursing and swearing
Peter was acting in a horrendously shameful manner, but let’s be honest with ourselves and consider whether we would have done any better. Admitting to being a follower of Jesus at this particular time just might have been a death sentence – perhaps a death sentence on a Roman cross.
The Christian life is a life of joy, but if we are willing to follow Christ in a godly manner, God promises that we will suffer:
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
II Timothy 3:12
But even in suffering there can be joy:
“…and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”
If we love God, we will make conscious choices that may result in suffering:
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;”
But the rewards are so much greater than the suffering:
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
There was something else that happened below in the palace on that day:
“And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.”
Perhaps the Lord has turned and looked upon you through this message. Perhaps you have walked out of your “palace” and have wept bitterly in your heart. I know that I have done so. But, my friend, God did not give up on Peter and he has not given up on you or me. In his unfathomable grace he calls us to return to him:
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”