The Rooster Crowed!


“Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there, warming himself. So they asked him, ‘You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?’ He denied it, saying, ‘I am not.’ One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter cut off, challenged him, ‘Didn’t I see you with Him in the garden?’ Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster crowed.” John 18:25-27 NIV.

Another “meanwhile”! With great skill the writer moved the action backwards and forwards between Annas facing off with Jesus inside the high priest’s palace and Peter facing off with the servants in the dimly lit courtyard.

It was difficult to identify faces in the pre-dawn darkness, the courtyard lit only by the glowing embers of a coal fire. Peter tried to keep his face down as he warmed his cold hands. He had already been challenged once. In his panic he had denied any association with Jesus. He didn’t want to be noticed in case someone else who had been there in the garden recognised him.

The servants around the fire knew very well that Peter was not one of them. He was a Galilean, by his accent and they soon began to question among themselves. Suddenly one of them spoke up. With withering scorn he pointed in the direction of the palace and demanded, ‘Surely you aren’t also one of His men, are you?’ Peter was not caught off guard this time, but he had already lied once. He had to keep it up to save his skin. ‘I am not.’ he muttered.

One man in the group kept staring at him. Peter shrank back into the darkness but it was no use. A relative of Malchus who had been there when Peter had lashed out wildly with his sword and severed Malchus’ ear, challenged him. ‘Hey! Weren’t you in the garden with him?’ he said. Peter had already cooked his goose.  He had been unmasked but he still persisted with his lie. Did anyone really believe him?

After three counts, the rooster gonged him out! John was silent about Peter’s response to the rooster. The other gospel writers pull the curtain aside. Peter was not only found out by the rooster for his foolish dismissal of his Master’s warning, his threefold denial of his Master and his shameless lying about his association with Jesus, but his utter emotional nakedness was also exposed by the gospel writers and revealed to the world.

Perhaps John still had traces of the old rivalry in his heart and deliberately excluded the heartrending scene of Peter’s regret. Didn’t he have a dig at Peter when Peter quizzed Jesus about John’s future (“Lord, what about him?” – John 21:21). Jesus cut him short with a sharp rebuke: “Mind your own business, Peter.”

“‘Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.'” John 21:22 NIV).

Jesus won the first round against Annas. With His insistence on the truth, He caught Annas out and all Annas could do was bow out by sending Him to Caiaphas. Let Caiaphas bear the brunt of Jesus’ astute understanding of the truth and what a fair trial was all about and see whether he could wangle a conviction against such an opponent.

Jesus was not trying to get an acquittal. He was committed to being the Passover Lamb of God that would be sacrificed for the sin of the world. At the same time, each person involved in the miscarriage of justice and the twisting of the truth to serve his own ends, had to face up to his own guilt. Among all those who were directly involved in His conviction and execution there was only one who remained not guilty — the prisoner Himself.

Even those who loved Him the most and who were the closest to Him failed at the crucial moment. Peter’s guilt was not only his own. Though the others did not verbalise their abandonment of their Master when He needed them the most, Peter represented them all with his words and actions.

And we too, though not there in person, stand among those who were guilty of condemning Him to death because it was our sin that He took upon Himself and our debt that He paid so that we can be free.

Categories: Bible Study Tags: , , ,

Luella Campbell

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