And The Rooster Crowed


While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. ’You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,’ she said. But he denied it. ‘I don’t know or understand what you are talking about,’ he said, and went out into the entryway.

When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, ‘This fellow is one of them.’ Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, ‘Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.’ He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know this man you’re talking about.’

Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: ‘Before the rooster crows twice, you will disown me three times.’ And he broke down and wept. (Mark 14: 66-72)

Oh Peter, how could you? Don’t you remember Jesus’ warning?

It’s so easy for us to stand back and judge Peter, isn’t it? Of course we wouldn’t do that, now would we? Or would we? Put yourself in Peter’s shoes. The events of the night happened so fast and so unexpectedly that he was caught unawares. Jesus had given him and all the others plenty of warning about what was to happen to Him, but they had chosen to dismiss His words and not to take Him seriously. Peter had even cancelled out Jesus’ words to him personally by protesting his undying loyalty.

Then things began to spin out of control. Instead of being awake and alert as He had urged them, because His betrayer was on the way and His arrest was imminent, they all fell asleep, giving way to the weakness of the flesh. When the mob fell on Jesus, they were unprepared. As usual, Peter acted first and thought afterwards. It was Peter who recklessly swung his sword and connected with the one person he would not have chosen to tangle with, an important member of the high priest’s household. Fortunately for him, Jesus was there, always watching for an opportunity to fix what was broken in spite of the adverse circumstances.

You have to give it to him, though. He was the only disciple who dared make his way right into the enemy’s camp. He mingled with the crowd in the courtyard of the high priest’s residence and tried to make himself invisible. But, unfortunately for him, he stood out like a sore thumb. His Galilean accent gave him away, for one thing, and for another, he was known to be a disciple of Jesus. He’d been seen all over Jerusalem hanging out with Jesus.

In spite of the evidence, Peter tried to lie his way out of trouble. Would he be arrested because he was guilty by association? He didn’t want to take the chance because he was not about to face crucifixion if the Romans got hold of him. Not once but three times he denied any knowledge of his Master, vehemently cursing and swearing his ignorance of the man he had confessed to be the Son of God not long before.

His conscience stabbed him like a knife because he knew he had lied. And then the rooster crowd. Suddenly his memory lit up like a prairie fire, burning and searing his heart until he crashed in a heap of misery. Jesus’ warning words rang in his mind and even more loudly his protestation of loyalty. In that moment he was stripped naked and saw himself for the first time as he really was – not the brave leader of the pack as he thought he was but a cowardly little weasel, cowering before a serving maid. He wept until he had no more tears to weep but, like feathers in the wind, he could not take his words back.

Worst of all. Jesus knew. Peter saw His glance and burned with shame. There was no opportunity to make right with Him. He was heavily guarded and on His way to death. Peter knew it. He remembered all the altercations He had had with the authorities. The crunch had come and they had Him in their power. There was no escape for Him this time. The Sanhedrin was not interested in them. They wanted the ringleader and the finally had Him.

Had you been in Peter’s shoes would you have acted any differently? How did Peter feel? Desperate enough to do what Judas did? Thank God he hung on, and eventually reaped the reward of forgiveness and reinstatement as a beloved disciple.

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Luella Campbell

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