“On Your Mark”
Cock-a-Doodle-Do (Chapter 14 Verses 66-72)
The account John gives us in his gospel indicates to us it was the young girl who physically let Peter into the courtyard, who actually exposed him (vv66-67). How did Peter feel as the young woman fixed her gaze upon him? And her accusing words, “you were with Jesus”. I think he probably felt the whole world was gazing at him, and no doubt many in that courtyard did turn their attention on him. Panic sets in immediately (v68). And the only way out Peter can find is to lie. With what great ease the devil is able to knock the proud, arrogant boasters off their feet. I mean this was not some great Roman centurion, or the high priest’s police force, it was a young maid. And with her simple question she is able to turn the courageous protester, who will most assuredly die for Jesus (Mark 14.31), into a crumbling shameless coward, cringing with lies and curses. Who claims that he not only does not know Jesus but does not even understand what she is talking about. What if he had stood firm and openly professed his faith? Would he have been safe? Probably! He startles at nothing (Leviticus 26.36). But then Jesus’ prophetic word had to be fulfilled (Mark 14.27-30).
The more Peter talks, the more he condemns himself, because they eventually catch his accent, he is a Galilean (v70), so he must be one of Jesus’ disciples. The fact that one of his accusers was a relative of Malchus (John 18.26), just adds to Peter’s terror, he is in deadly danger now. And so for the third time, with curses and oaths, Peter denies his Lord, and the cock crows again. Only one man in the whole courtyard heard that cock crowing, Peter! Luke adds the helpful information that Jesus looked at Peter, just at that moment (Luke 22.61). You add both together and they make up the means of bringing this fraught, sincere, but O so over-confident disciple of Jesus to the edge of a very deep repentance (v72b). He is a broken man. But it is the brokenness of contrition, which includes the realisation that he has fallen seriously, and attendant with genuine and deep sorrow for having done so. There are two vital lessons here for us, one, the prophecy of Jesus concerning Peter is fulfilled with deadly accuracy. Two, Peter a leading and great Apostle is able to fall heavily into sin, but finds repentance and restoration. To both his position as a disciple and preacher of God’s word. It points us again to the pardon, the forgiveness and gracious cleansing Jesus has purchased for us (1John 1.7).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)