“the Lord turned and looked on Peter” Luke 22:61
Poor Peter the apostle, he was in over his head when Jesus turned and glanced at him. Earlier that night the Master had told them He was going away and they could not follow Him. Peter insisted that not even death would stop him from following Jesus. So vigorous was his claim of loyalty that the other apostles joined the chorus (Matt. 26:35; Mark 14:31).
It was Jesus’ sad duty to inform Peter that before dawn the next day Peter would deny his beloved Lord three times. Peter and the others could not believe their ears. Yet it was their Teacher who was telling them this. It troubled them greatly.
In the next few hours many things happened. Jesus led the disciples out to Gethsemane as He had done so many times before. There He dropped off 8 of them near the entrance while He went further in with Peter, James and John. With the privileged three Jesus began to be exceedingly troubled and told them He was so upset it was like dying (Matt. 26:38; Mark 14:34). They had never heard anything like this from Him before and they did not know what to say. The arresting mob came and frightened the disciples so much they all forsook Jesus and fled. Peter’s love overcame his fear for his own life enough to shadow Jesus into Jerusalem and he warmed himself at a fire while observing Jesus’ trial from what he thought was a safe distance.
However Peter’s rough Galilean accent gave him away as he spoke to some nearby. They accused him of being a Galilean and one of the followers of the man on trial. Peter was trapped. He feared for his life and the only way out was to deny any association with the One he had professed to follow to the death. Three times he was accused of being an associate of the one on trial and three times he denied he knew Him.
However while he was denying Jesus the third time a sound was heard and it was a rooster crowing. When Jesus heard the rooster crow He looked around and glanced at Peter. Peter, startled into silence perhaps by the crowing of the rooster, looked up at Jesus as he remembered the prophecy of his denial before the rooster would crow. Their eyes met for an instant and Peter bolted out of the house in seizures of weeping.
What was in the look of Jesus as His eyes met Peter’s? Perhaps pain was written on His face as He realized what His beloved disciple had just done. Sorrow and grief must have been in the Master’s heart as He saw the terror stricken face of Peter. Jesus never rejoices over the sins of His people. If Jesus could weep over an impenitent Jerusalem, certainly He would be grief stricken over the fall of Peter and could weep for one whom He knew did love Him. Never should we think that Jesus glared at Peter or gave him a contemptuous look. There was nothing of the “I told you so” on the face of the Master.
I believe that all Peter saw was love and sorrow mingled on that blessed face. Peter in an instant realized his failure. It was not likely the horrible nature of his sin that shook him so badly but the thought of how wonderful a Person he had denied that gave him the fit of weeping and the desire to flee the scene of his denial.
We know that Jesus was not angry with Peter that night when Peter failed so miserably. Jesus started the process of reconciliation by not giving Peter away. He did not speak a word. He did not glare at Peter or give a look of recognition. Peter knew the Lord too well to think that he had fallen not to rise again.
On resurrection morning the disciples were given a message from the angel at the tomb that they “and Peter” were to meet Jesus in Galilee. Peter was centered out for special mention as one Jesus desired to see. The beloved Saviour knew that Peter of all the disciples would be feeling the pain of his sin and needed to have such affirmation from the Lord. So all the disciples knew that Peter was especially wanted in Galilee to meet with Jesus.
What was in that look of Jesus toward Peter? Love supreme. Love that conquers sin. Love that was set upon Peter from before the worlds were made. A love that endured all of the disciple’s sin and would stay with Peter for all eternity.
Do you know this love from Jesus? Are you grieved when you offend Him? Do you realize that whatever difficulty you face, there is One who’s love cannot fade or disappear? Is this Jesus your Saviour? Have you enlisted Him to plead your case in the day of judgment? He calls on all of us to come to Him and be blessed forever. Come today. His look of love is worth all the trials of this life and more.