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Blind spots - Chester Cook

Simon Peter was a fisherman and apparently, in his development as a man, he picked up some bad, character flaws. He had some blind spots that needed to be brought out into the light.

His failure to identify his ragged edges became apparent in a series of three denials.

Jesus was under arrest, being interrogated in the courtyard of the high priest, Caiaphas. Just outside, a fire was kindled, and in the heat of the moment, a "servant girl," probably in her teens, speaks up and identifies Peter saying, "This man was also with him."

Peter, being the hierarchical, adult male, sternly puts the young girl in her place by rebuking her with a degrading chide, "WOMAN, I do not know Him."

The term for woman in the Greek reveals an emphatic quality that is more like a shout. He is exerting his cultural superiority as a Jewish man over, and against, this foreign, adolescent woman. In this culture and time, women had very few rights, and female children had no voice at all.

Peter is being exposed as a prejudiced, chauvinist with no regard for women or children.

Next, Peter is identified by a man standing around the fire. The man asserts, "You also are one of them." The word "them" here implies a follower of Jesus, a disciple. In this situation, Peter denies that he is a disciple of Jesus, in saying, "Man, I am not."

Here, the Man's testimony is a stronger witness against Peter. Peter is now in the hot seat being accused of being one of them. The accusation of being a follower of Jesus is leveled against many Christians in heated moments.

Many Christians cower and follow the crowd, so as not be ostracized by their peers. Peter has an impairment of association with his brothers in Christ.

Finally, an eye witness steps forward and positively identifies Peter as the man who cut off the ear of Malchus in the garden. The Bible tells us that: "Then Peter began to curse and to swear, [saying], 'I know not the man,' and immediately the cock crew."

In a rage of self-denial and survival, Peter loses all humanity and integrity by cussing and swearing as he looks across the fire into the compassionate eyes of his friend, lord and savior, Jesus. He has denied his only hope of salvation.

The world hasn't changed very much in two thousand years. Around the world, women are still being subjugated to second-class status by dominate male regimes and religions; children are being forced into child labor by economic systems that give adolescents no value or rights; foreigners are considered aliens, who are not like us and, therefore, enslaved by bigotry and racism.

We all have blind spots that show up when the heat is applied. Most of the time, the blind spots surface when brought into the light. The question then comes, do we deny that they exist or do we confess our faults and change our character for the better?

It is also, sometimes, necessary to let our friends know when they have a blind spot, before they have an accident.

If you have any comments on this column, please contact me at chaplain@airportchapel.org.