Peter several times made magnificent statements about his beloved Master (cf. Matthew 16:16; John 6:66-69). We admire his clear grasp of the identity of the Son of God. He stands tall in the four biographies (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) of the Good Shepherd. However, Peter also made some great verbal gaffes (e.g. Matthew 16:21-23). The verbal blunder for which Peter is best known would be his three denials of the Jesus when the Saviour was being tried before the Sanhedrin.
Peter had been vociferous when telling the Master he would follow Him even to death if necessary. Such was the strength of his loyalty. But, as we know, hours later in a very different context, Peter, with equal fervor did what he pledged he would never do under any circumstances. He denied his Master.
We grant that Peter had been in a very private place surrounded by those who loved his Lord. Now he was in a public place in the midst of a crowd of people who at best seemed indifferent to Peter’s Master—the Man on trial. So we sympathize with Peter as we witness his disgrace.
When the rooster crowed, both Jesus and Peter heard it. Peter’s response was horror that he had broken his promise and he convulsed in sobs of grief. Before he fled the scene, Jesus caught his eye with a glance. It was not a stare or glare. No, the Master greatly loved Peter and thus He would not give His disciple away. In three days, after the Master rose from the dead, Jesus would have a private one-on-one with Peter and restore him so he could grow in grace and boldly identify with the Friend of sinners.
Have you stumbled or know someone who has? Witness how the Teacher restores His disciple. Regardless of how far a believer has fallen, always remember what I often say in these devotionals—God’s grace always exceeds our sin.
Also, observe how privately Peter is restored. When Susan or I deal with a fallen person we never disclose the matter even to each other. Privacy such as Jesus gave Peter is merciful. If today, you have stumbled be encouraged! The Master wants to keep the matter between just you and Him.
Is Jesus glancing at you today? If so, weep and embrace Him right now. Your secret is safe with Him.
The Saviour looked on Peter. Ay, no word,
No gesture of reproach; the Heavens serene
Though heavy with armed justice, did not lean
Their thunders that way: the forsaken Lord
Looked only, on the traitor. None record
What that look was, none guess; for those who have seen
Wronged lovers loving through a death-pang keen,
Or pale-cheeked martyrs smiling to a sword,
Have missed Jehovah at the judgment-call.
And Peter, from the height of blasphemy--
'I never knew this man '--did quail and fall
As knowing straight THAT GOD; and turned free
And went out speechless from the face of all
And filled the silence, weeping bitterly.
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning