I have often found myself critical of Peter’s denial of Jesus Christ what he is questioned outside the palace. It can be tempting to think of Peter as cowardly or unfaithful. How could he deny the man that had been his friend and by whom he had seen miracles?
Under the lens of this moment it might seem to portray Peter as weak. What we must do to look into more of what we know of Peter. When Jesus first met Peter he told him to follow him. In response Peter “straightway left [his net] and followed him.” (Matthew 4:20) When Christ asked the apostles who they thought he was, it was Peter that responded that “thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus commended him and told him that this knowledge came from Father in Heaven. (Matthew 16:17) Lastly and just hours before his denial, Peter took up his sword in defence of the Savior when the Pharisees and Elders of the people came to take him.  The scriptures say there was a multitude armed with swords and staves. (Matthew 26:47-51) This was a fight they could not win, yet Peter still chose to fight to defend his friend.
It tells us that Peter was not a cowardly or unfaithful disciple, he was a flawed man. In last week’s post I reference that Jesus refers to his apostles as “Children.” This is because Peter, like all of us, was progressing, learning, and sometimes made mistakes. It is helpful to remember that Peter was only a convert of three years. Spencer W. Kimball commented that upon “hearing the bird’s announcement of the dawn reminded him not only that he had denied the Lord but also that all the Lord had said would be fulfilled, even to the crucifixion. He went out and wept bitterly.”
Despite his weaknesses, there was still hope for Peter, just as there is hope for all of us who make mistakes. Peter went on to become the chief apostle, he taught with power on the Day of Pentecost, he healed the sick and even restored life, he taught boldly before leaders who sought him harm, he suffered persecutions with joy to be counted worthy to suffer in the name of the Savior, and was eventually martyred for his efforts.
We should look to Peter as an example our own lives. He must be willing to continually try again. We will weep bitterly at times at our missteps, but we will find joy in the hereafter as we continually improve our lives and follow the Savior.
Read some of our other New Testament Readings posts.