Most men are fidgety. They need something to do. It’s caused a lot of excitement in many a marriage. As the wife shares a worry about something, the husband gets up and starts moving toward the tool shed before she’s finished her thought. Hammer-time! There is a visceral need with men to fix things, to get it done, to restore order, to reduce chaos, to get the needle back to normal. It rocks our world when we’re called out on it – when we’re told, “STOP trying to fix it. JUST listen to me.” We’re confused. We thought that we did listen. We heard her mention a problem. Home Depot is so close… We mean well.
Peter is now standing with one foot in and one foot out at the trial of Jesus. Were he a smoker, he’d be puffing away. Were he a drinker, he might be trying to tie one on. These are the faux actions of the perplexed. To be a man of action with no earthly idea of what action to take was torture. In this state of mind he had no time for small talk. He needed to think. But the small talk came his way nonetheless, and that in the form of a question: “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.” It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself. ~John 18: 17,18
Jesus had predicted three denials. Now it was one down and two to go. Once you’ve started backsliding down an ice cliff it is hard to regain your footing. One denial makes the next two almost inevitable. Peter’s mind is moving quickly: “Is this sin preordained? Do I HAVE to do this? Who was this woman who had the cheek to ask me that? What business is it of hers?” Swear words, the old vernacular of the sailor, are now racing up his throat and resting on the back of his tongue. The hand-warming crowd was now looking at him, searching their own memories. Peter is no longer thinking of the trial taking place in the formal chambers of the Sanhedrin. He is thinking of the trial going on outside by the fire pit where he’d stopped to warm his hands. He begins to fidget.