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Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. But Peter was following at a distance. When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” Then about an hour later yet another kept insisting, “Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about!” At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
Feet of Clay
When we say a person has “feet of clay,” we’re referring to some kind of weakness or hidden flaw in the character of an individual who’s greatly admired or respected. But this isn’t an unusual or unique condition. As a matter of fact, I think we’d be hard pressed to find a leader who didn’t have some kind of inner weakness. And I certainly include leaders of the church, even people we consider pillars of the faith. For example, in the story we just read, I think Peter shows himself to be pretty weak and flawed. I mean, there are few people who are more important to Christianity than Peter. And yet, on the night Jesus was arrested, this spiritual giant denied his savior three times. And I’ll tell you, that’s something I think we need to remember when we judge the faith and dedication of others and ourselves. There will be times when we’ll be less than stellar for Christ. But when that happens, we’re actually walking in the footsteps of the Apostle Peter. And this awareness should probably temper the judgement we apply to others and ourselves.
But there’s something else I think we need to remember. Even though Peter denied Jesus, God still used him to do incredible things. Not only did he share the gospel to everyone he met, his vision opened the proclamation to the entire world, both to the Jews and to the Gentiles. God didn’t hold his failure against him. And we can have faith that God won’t hold our weaknesses and flaws against us. You see, he loves us, and nothing can separate us from his love. And he can still use us to do great things for his kingdom, even through we’ll always have feet of clay.