“And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” (Matthew 26:75)
You might find part of the following reading a bit unpleasant; hopefully, it will also be healthy.
Think about what you consider to be the weakest, lowest, most humiliating spiritual moment of your life. It was likely a private one, and although it might have included a physical and public expression, the real source of the sin was in your mind. If today you are walking with the Lord, the mere recollection of the terrible facts probably causes you to blush.
Now imagine that God decided to publish the dirty details of that awful moment in four global periodicals. Oh yes, He also chose the writers. They were four of your closest friends, and each one consulted you before the publication went out, just to make sure they had all the facts straight.
This is more or less what happened to Simon Peter.
Now like many of us, he was in the habit of sticking his foot in his mouth. So if someone wanted to hurt him there were several choice options to choose from. But of all of them, there was one scene I’m sure he would dearly have wished eliminated from the record. It happened on a cold night, by a fire, in Jerusalem, just a little before dawn. There he blatantly and cowardly scorned the dearest, most wonderful Person he had ever known. If only those few minutes could have been clipped from history’s timeline, but they weren’t.
The Lord had a number of important reasons for exposing Peter’s wound to the future generations of the world. One was surely for the Apostle’s own immediate good, so that he could write humbly, yet boldly, of the proper way to receive the grace of God.
Another was undoubtedly for us. His denial story is a wakeup call for every one of us . . . for is there anyone who cannot sympathize with this tough Galilean fisherman? When we read of his bitter weeping, does our trembling soul not whisper, “Lord, I have done the same.”?
God so kindly buries most of the stumbles we make after coming to the Cross. But we would do well to remain very meek, very careful, very broken in our attitudes. Perhaps we should respectfully study the steps that led to Peter’s fall and pray for grace to avoid them. We could ask God to guard us from claiming superior faith among our peers. We could beg for wisdom to watch and pray like He ordered in the garden. We could seek patience to look to Jesus instead of lashing out at the mob that rises up against Him.
Yes, the memory was a dark spot on Peter’s mind. But the Lord let him write two epistles in which both the content and attitude reveal a man who wanted others to learn from his ugly story.
“…and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
Dear Father, I have often failed You as deeply as Peter, but You have covered much of it from human eyes. I thank You for that grace and ask for the virtue to honor You in every remaining day of my life. Amen.