Jump Start # 2894
Luke 22:61 “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, ‘Before a cock crows today, you will deny Me three times.’”
The setting of our passage takes place at Caiaphas’ home, the high priest. When we were in Israel this year, we visited this location. It was in the morning. As we were walking, looking and taking it all in, a rooster crowed. He crowed again. Four times that rooster crowed. We all noticed. It was so obvious.
Peter was told what was going to happen. And, it played out exactly as the Lord said. Peter denied and the rooster crowed. There are some things that we need to see here:
First, Peter remembered too late. That’s the problem we have. We know, but too often, the thrill of wrong pushes that knowledge to the back. We know, but knowing too late only adds to the guilt we feel. Why can’t we remember ahead of time? Why is it after the fact, after the denial that we remember? If I asked you who your third grade teacher was, many of your could tell me. If I asked what was your first car, you’d remember. Where was your wedding? You remember. But to pull that out of your memory, you had to stop, think a bit, and focus upon that intently. I expect most of us do not think about our third grade teacher unless there was a reason to. The memory is there, it’s just way in the back of our minds with lots of other things piled high on top.
So, to remember the Lord’s words, one has to put some effort into that. One has to be thinking that way. Could that be one reason the Jews were told to “bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.” With the word visibly around them, they would likely remember. Having passages on decorative things in our homes reminds us. Having verses visible helps us remember. Peter remembered. He just remembered too late.
Second, what made Peter remember was a look. It wasn’t seeing the passage written out on a sign. It wasn’t a quote he saw on a piece of paper. Jesus looked. Jesus looked at Peter and that’s all it took. It brought that memory racing to the front. And, that might be the thing it takes for us. Parents understand this. Get a group of people together and as the adults are talking, the kids are playing. And, when things begin to get out of hand, one parent looks at his child. Their eyes connect. No words are necessary. It’s understood. Behavior changes in an instant. And, could this be one of the blessings of our fellowship. Together we see each other. No words have to be said. There is an understood sense of goodness and right about the things we are doing. There is a positive peer pressure. And, the more we have godly people in our lives, the more we may just be reminded of what we need to be doing. Jesus looked and Peter remembered.
Third, we know what happens after this. Peter is crushed. He has let the Lord down. The Lord could not count on Peter. The text tells us that Peter wept bitterly. He lost it. He did what he said he would never do. The Lord who he as been with for three years, was denied by Peter. He looked out for his own safety. He took care of self, it that meant turning his back on the Lord.
The guilt of sin is greater than any pleasure sin gives. The fun lasts very shortly. The guilt can stay with us the rest of our lives. Broken promises. Hurt people. Ruined lives. We can say we are sorry, but that doesn’t stop the damage that has been caused. The tears, pain and broken heart and the remorse for doing what should never have been done crushes us when we sin. Peter showed that the Lord could not count on him. Peter illustrated that he had little faith and no courage. The voice of servant girls made Peter a coward, when just moments before, in the garden, Peter was thrashing a sword around. So brave there and such a coward now.
Tears are good. Guilt serves a purpose. The real problem comes when one denies the Lord and feels nothing. No shame. No tears. No guilt. When sin is practiced and there is no second thoughts. Such a person is losing their heart and they do not even realize it.
Fourth, as the text flows, the Lord isn’t through with Peter. Jesus would die. He would be buried and raised. The first two men to the tomb were Peter and John. Go tell Peter, was the divine message to the women. It was the Lord who later told Peter to feed my sheep. The Lord verbally told Peter that He loved him. It was Peter who preached that first sermon in Acts 2. It was Peter who first went to the Gentiles with the Gospel message. Beaten, chased and in prison, Peter would later write, that to suffer as a Christian was an honor.
Sometimes when we have let the Lord down, we feel like just going home, for good. We quit. We’ve failed and we don’t count any longer. But that’s not the case. God’s not finished with you yet. The Lord who loves, forgives. The Lord who teaches, offers a second chance. The Lord hasn’t given up on you. Broken, the Lord can mend you. Beat up, the Lord can heal you. Guilty, the Lord can forgive you.
Jesus looked…Peter remembered.