“Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them,
‘I don’t know the man!’ Immediately a rooster crowed.
Matthew 26:74 (NIV)
Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: ‘Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly.” Matthew 26:75 (NIV)
All four Gospels give considerable detail concerning Peter’s denial of Jesus. Even Mark, writing so much under the influence of Peter, details the fall of the fisherman. Such is the honesty of the writers of our Lord’s life.
Would any of us have done better had it been us at the trials instead of Peter? I think not. Peter had so vigorously boasted about his loyalty to Jesus (Mark 14:29; Matthew 26:33; Luke 22:33; John 13:37).
As it says in Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
For most of us it is the danger of overestimating our abilities rather than underestimating our strengths that is the problem. We give Peter credit for enough courage to shadow his beloved Lord when all the others except an unnamed disciple (John 18:15) shivered behind closed doors some distance from the scenes of the trials.
The point in our passage today is that when Peter heard the rooster crow and realized our Lord’s prophecy of his denials had come true, he ran off to be alone in his shame and sorrow.
In our failure we often seek to be by ourselves to review the situation that caused our downfall. We all feel embarrassed at failure and hope the matter does not go public.
Then, when Jesus rose from the dead, the message was taken to the apostles by the women who visited the empty tomb, “…go tell his disciples and Peter he goes before you into Galilee and there you shall see him as he said.” Mark 16:7. So all the disciples would know that Peter received a special invitation to meet with Jesus.
The remarkable tenderness of Jesus is also seen in the fact that when He restored Peter it was done privately and all that the others knew about the meeting was that Jesus and Peter had met.
Perhaps today you have made some great error, you have failed the Lord miserably. Can you not see that Jesus wants you to come out of hiding? He desires to have your company along with the rest of His people. If your sin has kept you from church then you should go back to the place where Jesus meets with His people.
If you have left off private prayer and Bible reading because of how you feel about your failure, see that Jesus is all compassion and never turned a repentant sinner away.
Return today to the One Who has proven such love for you and, like Peter, be forgiven and restored to active productive service. He urges the weary to come and He will relieve the burden and give rest (Matthew 11:28).