While all four Gospels include the account of Peter's denial of Jesus, only Mark—(consistently distinguished by attention to intriguing detail)—notes that Jesus said Peter's three denials would occur before the rooster crowed twice.
And when [the servant girl] saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, "You also were with Jesus of Nazareth." But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor understand what you are saying." And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed.
~ Mark 14:67-68 (NKJV)
Can you feel how torn Peter might have been? Though willing to fight, the possibility of defense with a sword has been eliminated. He is no doubt alert, yet weary after a night of pitifully little sleep. Having been singled out as a lone and defenseless disciple of Jesus among powerful enemies, Peter moves away from the fire to the porch (or vestibule) where he might be both a step away from his exit, yet still in proximity to His Lord.
Having denied His Lord once, does the cock's first crow signal a reminder warning of Jesus' prophecy? Perhaps Peter even considered leaving, but convinced himself he would not fail again.
I began this post thinking of the importance in heeding the warnings we receive—those promptings from the Holy Spirit to speak up when we will to remain silent, or to remain silent when we think to speak; to take action when it is more comfortable to walk away; to cease and desist when we venture into the territory of trespass.
But writing about the Bible can be take the same twists as reading the Bible. I am reminded that I am more like Peter than like Christ. My empathy lies not with my Lord who has been denied amid His torture, but with my brother Peter who loves Him and is crushed to fail Him. How often have I, like Peter, responded to the Spirit's warnings by bolstering myself with thoughts of willing spirit and underestimated weak flesh?
How often do I feel more sorry to think myself a failure than to feel sorry that I have failed my Lord?
My Lord, I love You with all my heart. I am pained to think of how I've denied You today in my weak flesh. I'm sorry to cause You grief, when You always seek to bless me. Please help me! Please help every person reading these words, that we might bring You more joy than sorrow.
"For I will forgive their iniquity,
And their sin I will remember no more."
~ Jeremiah 31:34 (NKJV)
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Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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