Still Part of God’s Family
Matthew 26:31–35, 69–75; Mark 14:27–31, 66–72; Luke 22:24–34, 54–62; John 18:15–18, 25–27; The Desire of Ages, pp. 672–674, 710–715
God wants me in His family, even when I fail Him.
“ ‘I have prayed for you . . . that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers’ ” (Luke 22:32, NIV).
Have you ever been afraid? Or done something that you were sorry for afterward? A long time ago a man was afraid. As a result he let his best Friend down. It probably happened like this.
What’s taking John so long? Peter thought to himself, shivering. It’s cold out here. I wonder what they’re doing to Jesus? John had gone to the High Priest’s house. He wanted to see where the soldiers had taken Jesus. The people at the gate knew John, so they let him in. John asked if Peter could come in too.
At last the gate opened.
“Come in, Peter,” John whispered. Then he disappeared.
Peter hurried toward the fire in the yard. He tried not to be noticed.
A servant girl came over to where Peter was standing and said, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Peter said denying it.
Peter moved away. He went to stand near the gateway. He was trying to stay out of the way. He was hoping no one would notice him or ask him any more questions. While he stood there another servant girl said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
Peter denied it again,” and with bad words said, “I don’t know the man!”
Peter tried to hide in the crowd. It was hard. He could see what the soldiers were doing to Jesus. They hit Him and spit on Him. Peter felt very sad, but he tried to pretend that he was like everyone else.
Time passed. As Peter stood near the fire to warm himself someone said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” Everyone stared at Peter. Peter shivered. He wished he was invisible. He shook his head and using more bad words he again denies knowing Jesus. “I don’t know the man!” Peter swears.
Immediately a rooster crowed. Peter looked up.
Jesus turned around and looked at Peter with sad eyes.
Peter remembered what Jesus had told him the day before. “Before the rooster crows, you will say that you don’t know Me three times.” Peter hadn’t believed he would ever say such a thing.
Peter felt terrible. He ran out the gate and hurried away. Peter “broke down” and “wept bitterly” because he had denied Jesus. He had failed.
He remembered what he had said earlier. “I’ll go to prison for You, Lord!” he had boasted. “I’ll even die for You!”
“How will Jesus ever be able to forgive me? I’m so sorry, Lord,” he cried to heaven.
Jesus did forgive Peter. He even gave him a special work to do.
“Help make everyone else strong,” Jesus said to Peter. Jesus still loved Peter. He wanted Peter to remain a part of the family of God.
And Jesus loves us, even when we do wrong. He is always ready to forgive us. He wants us to be a part of His family. He wants us to help others love Him too.