When something frightens me, or when I feel threatened, I tend to hunker down, go inward, put up walls around me. It is an instinctual response for me. I am more self-aware than I used to be, so I do recognize when I am going into "that mode" of operation and do my best to stop myself from completely shutting down my emotions. Professional therapy has helped me understand why I react in that manner and how to approach these situations in a more conscious and healthy manner.
Peter was acting out of a deep place of fear and confusion today. The man he named as Messiah and whom he has followed, leaving family and livelihood behind, just told him that betrayal and denial where in his future and then he sees him arrested and all the disciples and friends scattered away. Peter is alone, watching the man he loves be tortured, abused and denigrated. Peter had to be confused and deeply fearful when someone points at him and says he is one of Jesus' followers. Peter just reacted and lied and denied knowing Jesus: doing it two more times. Then the cock crows and Peter wakes up to what he has just done: lived into what he had been told he would do.
Peter was human, acting from a place of confusion and fear. An uneducated fisherman in a large city, witnessing the power brokers of that place flex their muscles in taking away the touch-stone of his existence. Perhaps this is some of the rationalization Peter did when he realized what he had just done, or perhaps he just felt like crap for betraying Jesus' trust, for being who Jesus knew him to be. Perhaps through this experience, Peter got to know and accept himself better. Perhaps this learning helped him become the rock on which Jesus founded his church. Perhaps this learning allowed him to be the leader he became for the fledgling church about to be born. Perhaps.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.