The Courtyard: A Place of Renewal

O God of light, Your word, a lamp unfailing, Shall pierce the darkness of our earthbound way And show Your grace, Your plan for us unveiling, And guide our footsteps to the perfect day. From days of old, through blind and willful ages, Though we rebelled, You gently sought again And spoke through saints, apostles, prophets, sages, Who wrote with eager or reluctant pen. Undimmed by time, those words are still revealing To sinful hearts Your justice and Your grace; And questing spirits, longing for Your healing, See Your compassion in the Savior’s face. —“O God of Light” (LSB 836, vv. 1–3)

In Luke 22:54–62, Luke relates Peter’s denial of Jesus in the courtyard. At the heart of this scene is the contrast between losing one’s life and saving it.

Earlier in the Gospel, Jesus taught His disciples, “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (9:24). That teaching actualized in Jesus.

Peter looks like he is willing to lose his life. He follows Jesus to the high priest’s courtyard. Yet, when questioned about his relationship with Jesus, Peter denies Jesus in order to save his life. By seeking to save his life, he loses it. His denial of Jesus is the way of death.

Jesus, however, is literally losing His life. Here, He is taken to trial and, from there, to His crucifixion. By losing His sinless life, however, Jesus rises to save the lives of sinners. The way of death for Jesus becomes the way of life for all.

Luke surrounds Peter’s denial with the story of Jesus’ faithfulness. He wants us to read both of these together. When we look at Peter’s denial and reflect on our sin, Luke wants us to see Jesus, looking at sinners and willingly dying for their sin. This vision of Jesus comforts all sinners. Jesus lost His life for sinners that sinners might be forgiven and find their true life in Him.

Jesus’ words are fulfilled when He predicted Peter’s denial and it came to pass. Jesus also, predicted Peter’s repentance and called him to strengthen his brothers in the faith, and that happened as well.

When our eyes are focused only on our sin, we can be led into despair. For that reason, it is good to remember the words of Jesus. Jesus turns our eyes away from our sin to see His work of salvation. He offers us the comfort that, even when we fall into sin, He is praying for us, watching over us, and offering us His Word and work that forgive and bring new life.

God Bless,

Pastor Joel