Cock Crowing Experiences

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

Ever remember a time when you’ve had a moment of truth?

 

I took my grandchildren to a skating rink recently and it dawned on me, I’ll never skate again. Arthritis has made it impossible, definitely not a smart thing to even consider.

Sometimes we have more serious moments of truth, “cock crowing” experiences I will call them.

Several years ago, I lived next door to a lady who I doubted was a Christian. I made a few attempts to be neighborly to get to know her. She was friendly enough, but we didn’t have many interactions. I kept thinking I would be able to develop enough relationship to witness directly to her, but before I knew it, our new house was built and we moved away. I realized our paths would likely never cross again. I lost my opportunity. The cock crowed. 

On a far deeper level, Simon Peter had his moment of truth. He had boldly followed Jesus. At the last supper, Jesus tried to warn the disciples that they would fall away, but Peter pledged his allegiance. Jesus told Peter,

“I tell you the truth, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

But Peter declared,

“Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” Matthew 26:34-35

Peter and the others went with Jesus to the garden. When the the temple guard and religious leaders came for the arrest, Peter drew his sword to protect Jesus and ended up cutting off Malchus’ ear. Jesus rebuked Peter and restored the ear.

In spite of this rebuke, Peter (and John) continued to follow in the shadows when the leaders arrested Jesus and took Him away. All the other disciples fled. Peter even went into the courtyard outside the place where the leaders were questioning Jesus. That should count for something!

But then one of the servant girls questioned Peter. “You are one of his followers, aren’t you?” “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Denial one.

Later, another questioned him. “I don’t know the man,” he said. Denial two.

Still warming themselves around the fire, another said, “Surely you are one of them. Your Galilean accent gives you away.” Peter called down curses. “I don’t know the man!”

The cock crowed.

Peter’s moment of truth came. Instantly, he remembered Jesus’ warning. Peter went outside and wept bitterly.

We’ve all probably had words we wish we could draw back in. Moments of devastating self-awareness—cock crowing experiences.

Thankfully, Resurrection Day would come. What will Peter do with that? 

~ Joyce ~    

 

Peter – Defense to Denial

          Searching His Word

                       Seeking His Heart

Again, we will see the ups and downs of Peter’s personality.

Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane, a favorite place to get away for prayer, but this will be His most agonizing prayer of all as He submits to the will of God. He asks Peter, James, and John to keep watch and pray. The late night and weariness of fear overtake them and they fall asleep even after Jesus pleads with them to keep watch.

Soon they are wide awake when they hear a mob of temple guards, scribes, and Pharisees approaching. Their lit torches cast frightening shadows through the trees while swords clang at their sides.

Jesus questions the intruders. “Who is it you want?” Though at first startled, the guards pick themselves up and push forward. Peter jumps in to defend Jesus. He asks,

“Lord, should we strike with our swords?” Luke 22:49

But in typical Peter-style, he is already swinging his sword and ends up cutting off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest.

Then Jesus answered, No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Luke 22:51

Jesus is arrested and taken away. Before we condemn Peter for his rash behavior, remember two things—his good intention was to defend Jesus. Secondly, other than John, Peter determines to follow the crowd all the way to the high priest’s house. The other disciples flee for their lives.

Jesus is taken first to the previous high priest, Annas, then bound and led to Caiaphas. While Jesus is with Annas, Peter warms himself by a fire with some of the servants. A woman recognizes him and accuses him of being one of the disciples which he flatly denies.

A man recognizes his Galilean accent and repeats the accusation. Again, Peter denies with great emphasis that he doesn’t even know him. About the time Jesus is led through the court yard to Caiaphas, a third person makes the same charge. Peter protests, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” 

Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” Luke 22:60-61

Within the course of late night to early morning, Peter has shifted from defending Jesus with a sword to denying him. Now, in despair, he “went out and wept bitterly.” This is an all-time low for our friend.

We reach those low points in our lives—defeats, crushing blows, humiliation, harsh words, bitter attitudes, heart-breaking news. Sometimes we must go through humiliating experiences to become what God intends for us, so take heart, Peter will eventually become that powerful rock like his name. Remember, God named him not for what he was, but for what he could be. Same for you and me.

~ Joyce ~

 

Peter, To the Rescue

Peter and the disciples have had at least three warnings that Jesus will be betrayed, turned over to the Romans, flogged, and killed, but will rise again.

In spite of these looming thoughts, they experience the miraculous raising of Lazarus from his four-day death tomb. Then they march into Jerusalem with exuberant singing and palm-waving pilgrims who have come for Passover. The next day, the people eagerly gather to listen to Jesus’ teachings. Though some turn away and the Pharisees ask their incessant tricky questions, many people respond favorably. Even a few leaders seem to believe. Perhaps everything will be fine, just fine.

But later, Jesus says to his disciples,

23 The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 27 Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this reason I came to this hour. John 12:23-27

Peter’s mind calls up the warnings—”betrayed, turned over, flogged, killed.” No, this cannot be.

Fast forward to later in the week. Jesus and the disciples are sharing the Passover meal. Jesus teaches and prepares the men, warning and encouraging them. He prays with them and for them. He tells them that where he is going, they cannot go. Peter asks him, “Lord, where are you going?”

36 Where I am going you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” 37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” John 13:36-38

But we know Peter’s determined temperament. After their meal, the disciples follow Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus agonizes in prayer while the disciples fall numb with sleep. In the dark of night, Temple guards, along with some chief priests and Pharisees come to arrest Jesus. They move forward.

25 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) John 18:10

So like the impetuous Peter, as he acts on an immediate impulse, grabbing the short sword out of his belt, swinging it up in the air, and slicing off the ear of Malchus in the process. (See my first book, Ears to Hear.) Up he goes, ready to defend Jesus, an honorable act. I’ll show him that I that I’m ready to die for him just as I said. But once again, Jesus brings him down.

11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” John 18:11

Peter has not yet heard what Jesus pointedly and figuratively told the disciples—”I must die. It is the reason I came to this hour.” He must drink the cup of redemption to redeem Peter and the disciples and the Jews and the Gentiles and future generations who believe in Him—namely me and you. It is why Jesus came, to bear your sin and mine on the cross.

As you picture Jesus’ bloodied, beaten body on the cross, see the words stretched across his arms from one hand to the other—”I bear the penalty for your sin.”

~ Joyce ~