The Shadow of Denial

RF:  The Shadow of Denial 
R4:  Zechariah 13:7
	"Awake, O sword, against my shepherd,
	against the man who is close to me!"
	declares the LORD Almighty. 
	"Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered...."
R1:  John 10:14-15
	"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--
	just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--
	and I lay down my life for the sheep."
R1:  Matthew 26:31,33-35
	"This very night you will all fall away on account of me,
	for it is written: 
R4:	`I will strike the shepherd,
	and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'
R3:	Peter replied, "Even if all fall away on account of you,
	I never will." 
R1:	"I tell you the truth, this very night, 
	before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." 
R3:	"Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." 
R2:	And all the other disciples said the same. 
     Luke 22:54-62
	Then seizing Jesus, they led him away
	and took him into the house of the high priest.  
	Peter followed at a distance.
	But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard 
	and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 
	A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. 
	She looked closely at him and said, 
R4:	"This man was with him." 
R2:	But he denied it. 
R3:	"I don't know him”	
[R3 avoid R4 while R4 follows, switching places at microphones]
R2:	A little later someone else saw him and said, 
R4:	"You also are one of them."
R3:	"No, I am not!" 		
[R3 and R4 switch again]
R2:	About an hour later another asserted, 
R4:	"Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean." 
R3:	"I don't know what you're talking about!" 
R2:	Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 
	The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.  
[R1 look at R3]
	Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: 
R1:	"Before the rooster crows today,
	you will disown me three times." 
R2:	And he went outside and wept bitterly. 	
[R3 turn back to audience]

Reflection:	What happened to Peter?
	Peter was strong, Peter was brave, he wasn't afraid of anything.
	But maybe Peter's strength was also his weakness.
	Because Peter thought he could handle anything by himself.
	But after Jesus' arrest,
	surrounded by the power of the Roman army,
	Peter didn't feel so strong.  
	For what good is the strength of one man
	against the powers of darkness?
	So Peter was afraid.
	And because he was afraid, he denied Jesus.
	The people asked Peter if he knew Jesus.
	Later in his life Peter might have seen this as
	a chance to witness, but not now.  Now he was scared.
	Now he was more afraid of other people than of God.
	So he denied that he ever knew Jesus.
	Not once, not twice, but three times he denied Jesus.
	And then Jesus looked at Peter.
	Here was Peter, brave Peter,
	the man who Jesus had entrusted His church to!
	But, there was hope.
	Because then Peter did what he should have done in the beginning 
	when Jesus first told them about his coming suffering and death:
	Peter cried.
	Bravado replaced with brokenness; words replaced with tears.
	Peter wept.

(extinguish candle)
Let us silently meditate in prayer on the denial of Jesus.

Song: Only By Grace
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