Lesson Twenty Two


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Memory Verse: Psalm 86:5
Further Study: Matthew 26:47-75; Mark 14:43-72; Luke 22:47-71; John 18:1-27; The Desire of Ages, pp. 694-714; The Bible Story, vol. 9, pp. 78-87

I was about 10 when my grandparents came to visit. We lived in an apartment complex at the top of a hill. I attended public school and the school bus picked children up at the bottom of the hill. It wasn’t a long walk, but one that was easier going downhill in the morning than in the afternoon when it required walking back up. While they were visiting, the bus pulled into the drop-off point. I don’t know when I saw my grandfather, probably from my seat on the bus, but he was standing at the bus stop along with my bike. I also don’t know what made me do this other than embarrassment or shame, but when I got off the bus I purposely turned away from where he was, as if I didn’t see him, crossed the street, and began the climb up the hill as fast as my legs would take me, not looking back until I was about midway. I stole a furtive look over my shoulder to see my grandfather, looking old, tired, and pushing my bike up the hill on the other side alone. I got back to the apartment first and feigned knowledge when I was asked where my grandfather was. I’m filled with regret whenever I think of this moment. I never admitted what I did to him and never got the chance as he died two years later.

Peter also pretended not to know Jesus.

Peter also pretended not to know Jesus. We don’t know why he did what he did. I can’t tell you why I did either, but in both cases, it was to someone we loved. It pains me, even 50 years later, to believe I would be so unkind. Yet we all have moments we don’t plan, but end up with regrets. We snap at our toddler who’s on our last nerve; we walk the other way rather than meet someone we’d rather not speak to; we become irritated at the driver ahead who’s moving slower than we like; or roll our eyes at elderly people who are being demanding. In doing any of these or more, we are, in essence, denying our love—many times not to strangers, but people we care for. 

But there is hope.

But there is hope. It’s found a few verses ahead before they left the Upper Room. Jesus said: “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:31, 32, italics supplied). Can you hear the hope? Satan may tempt and appear to win, but Jesus is praying for us! Then note the rest—”when you have returned to Me” . . . Yes, Peter fell, and we will too. But he would return and so will we. We can focus on regrets, or we can turn toward Jesus. When we turn, we will find we are renewed.

Digging Deeper 

Peter holds a prominent position in all four Gospels, but particularly in Matthew. Matthew tells five different stories featuring Peter that are only found in his Gospel. They are:

  1. Walking on water to Jesus in the storm (14:28-31)
  2. Asking for an explanation to one of Jesus’ parables (15:15)
  3. Confessing Jesus as the Christ (16:17-19)
  4. Recommending building shelters for Elijah, Jesus, and Moses (17:24-27)
  5. Asking how many times we should forgive (18:21)

Because of these stories and more, we learn of Peter’s love and commitment for Jesus, but we also find someone like us. Jesus used Peter and He can use us despite our human tendencies.


Making it Real

Do you have a story like mine? Do you carry regrets for how you behaved or reacted to a situation? If so, pray about it this week. If you’re able to make amends, find a way to do so by a call, a card, or a visit. If not, such as in my case, take your regrets to Jesus. Ask Him to give you peace and forgiveness as well as to help you learn from your experience.


Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being a grandmother to two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus, and a granddaughter, who’s delighting everyone with her smiles. She is blessed to have all three living close by, continually bringing joy and delight.


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