Here are the facts: An adult male chicken is called a rooster. An adult female chicken is called a hen. Roosters are larger, more colorful and have larger combs on top of their heads. Chickens are tasty. But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about…sooo……
In Luke chapter 22, there is so much happening. It starts out with the Passover, and we find the chief priests and scribes plotting how they might kill Jesus, but they realized that they must do it without causing a big scene because they feared the people.
In verse 3, the Bible says that ‘Satan entered Judas’ (which really creeps me out) and then Judas made a bargain with the chief priests and captains to betray Jesus without causing a riot among the people. They agreed to give him 30 pieces of silver.
Jesus has now sent Peter and John to go and prepare the Passover meal. And when the time came, Jesus and the apostles all sat together.
Luke 21:14-23, “And when the hour came, he reclined at table and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat the Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until he kingdom of God Comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me”. And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But behold,, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.
Later, Jesus tells the disciples, that Satan had asked to “sift each of you like wheat”. And then He tells Peter that He had prayed for him, that his faith not fail. Isn’t that beautiful? Jesus had already prayed for Peter because He already knew what was to happen! But Peter insists that he would NEVER betray him and that he would go to prison with Him and even to die for Him. And that is when Jesus tells him, ” before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny me three times.”
So now here we are. Jesus has indeed been arrested, taken and whisked away. I don’t know where the other disciples have gone, but Peter decides to follow at a distance. As he stands by a fire in the center of the courtyard, a servant girl looks over at Peter and exclaims that he is one of Jesus’ followers! Don’t you imagine that the words hit him like an electric shock! How did they know? Then as two others begin whispering, the accusation hits him again. Again he denies him by saying, ‘I’m not one of them.” And finally, another servant girl insists that he must be one of Jesus’ followers. I imagine that Peter’s heart is pounding in his chest as they all look at him suspiciously, so he blurts out, “I don’t know Him.”
And that is when the rooster crowed. But it is the next verse that is one of the most heart-breaking verses in the whole Bible! (At least in my opinion) Because in verse 61, it says, “At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter.”
Oh………can you imagine? That is like a light being turned on while you are committing a sinful act in the dark. How devastating…..Even though it is the dead of night, Peter saw the Lord…and the Lord saw him. One look from the Son of God sent Peter out into the night to weep bitterly.
Oh, Peter….you didn’t deny Christ to the high priest. You didn’t deny Christ to the soldiers. You denied Christ to a servant girl! Peter is the man that had just cut off a Roman soldiers ear earlier in the Garden! He was not a coward! But he had been caught off guard and he had ignored Jesus’ warning.
So it was Peter, the Rock (Matt. 16:18-19) that had crumbled at the most significant point in his life. He had denied Christ, not once, but three times and I am sure that it is a failure that he would remember for the rest of his life.
I Corinthians 10:12 says, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” In other words, don’t be so naive and self confident…you are not exempt….you will fall.
In the end, it was Peters courage that failed him, not his faith. Remember when Jesus said that He had prayed for him that “his faith not fail.” Jesus knew long before the denial that Peter would fall and how he would react. But he never left him. Our Lord looks past our failures and faults and sees our heart.
Do you feel weak and confused? Peter felt that way. Are you feeling afraid and backed in a corner? Peter felt that way too, in fact this story should give us one of hope! Listen to Peter! If you’ve fallen and feel like you’ve denied Christ, take heart! God still loves you! And if he can love Peter … he can love you!