54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. 59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” 60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
(J.J. Tissot d. 1902 Second Denial of Peter)
Thoughts: Peter denied Jesus to save his own skin. Doubtless fear of his own arrest and the sensed hostility of the crowd in the courtyard had something to with it. The world in the West is getting more hostile to Christianity. In a hostile world will we deny Him? Today is International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. 171,000 Christians die a year from persecution (about 20 an hour). This past week a Christian pastor in Iran, Youcef Nardarkhani, was sentenced to death for protesting about his son's being forced to study the Quran (see more at http://www.persecution.com/). The good news is that Peter was restored. The good news is that Peter died a martyr's death (upside down on a cross) given a second chance to be faithful to Him.
Prayer: Give us grace, O Lord, to be faithful to you in the midst of our persecution. If the whole world denies you, O Lord, may I have your grace to never deny you.
Here is a link about persecuted Christians: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oySB4uw4n18&feature=related Pray for them today.