Wednesday, April 1, 2020

I Know Not the Man

By Clifton Angel

    “Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man” (Matthew 26:74). It was Peter’s third denial of the Messiah. He had spent three years with Him in close communion. He denied the One he followed, even to the point of leaving his occupation of commercial fishing. He denied the One who made him one of his dearest disciples—the first named of the twelve apostles in the accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He denied the One who made it possible for him to walk on water. He denied the One who miraculously healed his mother-in- law. He denied the One he saw transfigured into the literal presence of Moses and Elijah. He denied the One he witnessed perform miracle after miracle. He denied the One who predicted his denial.
    Peter’s response? “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee” (Matthew 26:35). I believe Peter was serious. I believe Peter was sincere. I believe Peter was ready to die for the cause of his Messiah—so much so that he made the first attack as a warrior for the Messiah. He cut off the right ear of Malchus, and it has been suggested that he was not aiming for his ear. No one was taking his King by force. And then … Jesus told him to put up his sword, and He allowed the Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers to arrest him and lead him away.
    May I suggest that an immediate inner struggle began within Peter? Such may be called speculation, but the evidence continuously points to the fact that Peter was making the same mistake that many make today. He thought Jesus was going to conquer the world, set up an earthly kingdom, and reign as a physical king. Peter was ready to fight anyone that resisted what he thought to be Jesus’ efforts to conquer all “the powers that be” at that time.
    Jesus will never reign as a “physical” king and he will never have an “earthly” kingdom in the way that many teach today. All religious people would do well to take note that the Scriptures teach that the church is Jesus’ kingdom (Matthew 16:18–19; Mark 9:1; Acts 2; Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:9).
    You see, I believe the evidence shows that Peter denied the Lord because things did not happen the way Peter thought they were going to happen. Do things ever happen in your life to cause you to struggle with your faith in Jesus? How often do people deny the Lord because things are not happening the way THEY think they should happen? How often does one who once confidently confessed Jesus as the Christ eventually boldly proclaim, “I know not the man.”

- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website:

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