In her major work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy described three ways in which error comes knocking at the door of thought. She wrote, “The procuring cause and foundation of all sickness is fear, ignorance, or sin” (p. 411). A careful consideration of these three errors—fear, ignorance, and sin—has important lessons for us today.
Each of these three errors is illustrated in significant ways in the Bible, as seen by the actions of three of Jesus’ disciples, Peter, Thomas, and Judas, all of whom were disloyal to Jesus at one time or another. Looking closely at the Bible stories, we see that all of their exhibitions of disloyalty were occasioned by one of the three errors Mrs. Eddy mentioned. As contemporary disciples, it’s important for us to understand more deeply just how error deceived these three men into being disloyal, in order to stay alert ourselves.
Peter’s disloyalty came in the form of denying that he knew Jesus—even after Jesus warned him this would happen (see Mark 14:30). After Jesus was taken into custody, people identified Peter as one of Jesus’ disciples. Peter stoutly denied this, more than once (see Mark 14:66–72). To me it seems highly likely that because Jesus was about to be crucified, Peter’s denial was motivated by fear for his own life.