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The Life of Jesus: Chapter 18 - Why Did Peter Fail?

By J.R. Miller

      One of the saddest disappointments of the story of our Lord's last days, is Peter's denial of his Master. If the gospel narrative were fiction, this event would not be in it. We would have said it was impossible. Peter loved Jesus deeply and truly. He had received the name of "the rock". For three years he had been under the teaching and in the constant companionship of Jesus. He had special honor and favor in the apostle-family. His name stands always first in the list, and he was one of the three of the Master's closest personal friends. It was he who had made the great confession, which won from Jesus such commendation.

      We would have said that he was the last of the apostles who would deny his Lord. Yet, in spite of all, this bravest, most favored apostle, this man of rock--fell most ignominiously; fell, too, at a time when friendship to his Master ought to have made him truest and most loyal.

      Why did he fail? His self-confidence made him weak. He slept in the Garden--when he ought to have been watching. Then he drew his sword to defend his Master. His next mistake was in following Jesus afar off. His last error was in joining the company by the fire--when he came in. The denial was already more than half made when he sat down among the officers, trying to appear as one of them. It was easy then, when the maid twitted him with being of the Galilean's party, to deny it.

      Against the pitiful weakness and cowardness of Peter, shine the faithfulness and graciousness of the Master. He heard it all--the denial thrice repeated, and the oaths and curses--He heard it all--but loved on. It was this marvelous forbearance that saved Peter. It was the Master's look that saved him.

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See Also:
   Chapter 1 - The Gospel of the Infancy
   Chapter 2 - The Mother and the Child
   Chapter 3 - The Watchfulness of God
   Chapter 4 - The Youth of Jesus Christ
   Chapter 5 - The Shadow of the Cross
   Chapter 6 - "Not Dead--But Sleeping"
   Chapter 7 - "Lord, Save Me!"
   Chapter 8 - The Teacher by the Sea
   Chapter 9 - Christ at the Door
   Chapter 10 - The Lord is my Shepherd
   Chapter 11 - The Compassion of Christ
   Chapter 12 - Unrequited Love
   Chapter 13 - The Coming of the King
   Chapter 14 - Remember Jesus Christ
   Chapter 15 - The Lesson of Service
   Chapter 16 - The Refuge in Sorrow
   Chapter 17 - "Could You Not Watch One Hour?"
   Chapter 18 - Why Did Peter Fail?
   Chapter 19 - "What Shall I do with Jesus?"
   Chapter 20 - "Behold the Man!"
   Chapter 21 - The Great Mystery of Love
   Chapter 22 - Last at the Cross, First at the Grave
   Chapter 23 - The Women Friends of Jesus
   Chapter 24 - The Walk to Emmaus
   Chapter 25 - The Pathos of Divine Love
   Chapter 26 - The King and His Kingdom
   Chapter 27 - The Parting Blessing


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