NOT THE END OF THE STORY
Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.” But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed. When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!” But Peter denied it again. A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.” Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” And immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.
Mark 14:66-72 NLT
It is hard to think that this is the same Peter who not long before had declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” He was bold in front of Jesus and the other disciples. Jesus even said on that occasion that Peter was inspired by God with his words. When Jesus had told the disciples about His coming arrest and that they would all flee, Peter was the one that took a firm stand that he would never run and deny Jesus. But now is when the “rubber meets the road.” It reminds me of Mike Tyson’s famous line, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Peter’s plan was that he would die for Jesus—but the arrest in the garden and the quick trial had punched him in the mouth. Fear and panic had set in. Peter wanted to try to help—he had followed Jesus all the way to the place of the trial. When we are in the light of day, we often brag about what we will do or never do. In a church service we can talk about how strong our faith is and how much we trust God. But then comes Monday morning at work and life falls apart. We should note that Mark was writing his gospel to an audience that was facing persecution because of their faith in Christ. They would identify with Peter’s feelings in this moment in the courtyard. For these early believers they would remember that if Peter, one of the apostles, could fail under pressure they also could fail. Sometimes we are like Peter. We talk when we should listen, argue when we should obey, sleep when we should pray, and argue when we should submit. But this passage is not the end of the story. There is a note at the end of the section that opens the door for something better to come. After the rooster crows Peter remembered the words of Jesus—and he broke down and wept. It is the words of Jesus that bring conviction to our hearts. When we have blown it we need to allow the Holy Spirit to bring God’s Word into our minds again and reveal our need for correction. We then respond to those words with remorse and repentance. It is one thing to be sorry, it is another thing to be sorry enough to want to change. Jesus was not finished with Peter because he failed. The story continues in Luke 24 after the resurrection when Jesus meets privately with Peter. Then in John 21 Jesus restores Peter to his calling. There is always hope for restoration. Jesus is in the business of restoring broken humanity. It does not matter how broken.
Holy Spirit thank-you for working in my life to reveal God’s truth. Thank-you for working in me to help me respond properly to Your Word. Help me to stay humble and pliable.
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