Tag Archives: before the rooster crows



“Peter said, ‘Master, I’m ready for anything with you. I’d go to jail for you. I’d die for you!’

“Jesus said, ‘I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Peter, but before the rooster crows you will have three times denied that you know me.'” Luke 22:33-34 (The Message).

We like to pick Peter out for being cocksure of himself but I don’t think we are any different. There was no problem with his sincerity. He loved the Master and would willingly have given his life for him — in his mind — but, in the real situation, at the mercy of ruthless Roman soldiers, it was a little different.

Peter did not know what it was like to be in that kind of situation. Perhaps even more important was the fact that dying for Jesus then would be pointless. He would be dying for a friend but not as a witness to the truth to which he was testifying. His opportunity would come later when he would give his life for what he believed and preached, that Jesus is the Son of God and that He rose from the dead and is the author of eternal salvation for all who believe in Him.

Peter had a whole lot of living to do and learning the truth about Jesus and the resurrection because that became the pivot of his life and message, and the reason for his obedience and courage, even to the point of dying the same cruel death as his Master.

Peter did not even know that his brash words were prophetic. He did indeed go to jail and to death for Jesus but it was because of his choice to follow Him and not because he was the victim of Jewish leaders’ prejudice. Peter learned his lesson well. He had to go through his own ‘Gethsemane’, humiliating and painful as it was, to be equipped to be an apostle of the good news.

Our own failures and weaknesses seem so drastic and final that we think that they disqualify us from being Jesus’ disciples, and we run from Him in guilt and shame. God has a very different view of our failures. These are the very experiences that equip us to be witnesses for Him.

To what are we really witnessing? Not to our strengths! If we never failed, we would not need the grace which God freely gives to us because of Jesus. This is the marvel and miracle of the gospel. Jesus came to earth because of who we are. There is nothing in us to commend us to God. God’s verdict: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV).

At best we are foul. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6 (NIV).

Jesus did everything necessary to recue us from our pitiful condition. He paid our debt, washed us clean and presented us to God as His own beloved sons and daughters and gives us the grace to live for Him in His strength, not ours.

We are fools if we think we can do it by ourselves. Peter learned that and so must we if we are to be witnesses of how big He is, and not of how big we are. It only takes our considered decision to follow Him to brings God’s grace into action that energises us to do what we have chosen to do. The choice is ours; the strength is His and we do it together.

We have a union with the Holy Spirit who lives in us so close that, whenever we decide to obey, His power activates our choice and we do it through Him. “I have been crucified wih Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me, The life I live in the body, live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NIV).

Is that not a better option than being self-confident and falling into a deep, dark hole of guilt and shame because I thought I could do it by myself?



“Simon Peter asked Him,’ Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.’ Peter asked, ‘Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ Then Jesus answered, ‘Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.'” John 13:36-38 NIV.

Before we come down heavily on Peter for denying Jesus, let’s stop a minute and ask a few questions.  Firstly, was he sincere? I do believe that he could not have been more sincere in his expression of loyalty to Jesus than at that moment. After all, had he not stuck with Him through thick and thin? There were many occasions when he could have disowned him and walked away, but he didn’t…

What about the times when Jesus had a go at the Pharisees, calling them whited sepulchres, liars, murderers and children of the devil? The disciples must have cringed and felt like crawling into the nearest hole. What of the very recent incident in the temple when He caused a huge furore by driving the merchants and money-changers out of the temple court, upsetting the money changers’ tables and sending the animals fleeing in all directions? Don’t you think the disciples wanted to disown Him at that moment?

As for their visit to Caesarea Philippi, the “red light district” of Israel! Jesus deliberately took His group of conservative Jewish men to a place where they were confronted with a spectacle too disgusting for words; the devotees of Pan, the goat god, shamelessly and publicly having intercourse with goats as part of their religious ritual! What was He thinking?

Yet Peter and his fellow disciples stayed with Him regardless…. No other rabbi in Israel had ever said and done the outrageous things Jesus did as part of the training He put His disciples through. Having come this far, Peter had no intention of deserting Him now.

Secondly, did Peter believe at that moment that he had the courage to endure whatever he had to? I’m sure he did. He wasn’t afraid to take risks. He was always the first one to respond to Jesus, no matter what the circumstances. Didn’t he go fishing in broad daylight at Jesus’ instruction, knowing from a seasoned fisherman’s point of view that it was a useless waste of time? Didn’t he get out of the boat and walk on the stormy lake, knowing full well that he risked drowning? As long as Jesus was close by, he knew he was safe.

Thirdly, did Peter really know himself? No, he didn’t! That was the whole point of Jesus’ warning. Peter was confident but unfortunately, he was over-confident. He did not know the limit of his ability to stand up under testing. In spite of his reassurance that he was willing to give his life for Jesus, he did not yet know that something would paralyse him when it came to the crunch — fear! Fear would crush his resolve and expose him as a cursing coward.

In the moment of truth, Peter would become who he really was. As long as circumstances were favourable and he was not exposed to any risks when Jesus was not there to rescue him, he thought he was as brave as a lion! He had to learn the very hard and unforgettable lesson that without Jesus, he could do nothing.

For Peter, when he looked back, this moment of denial would be a moment of grace. He would take Jesus’ warning with a pinch of salt because he didn’t really believe Him and because he thought he knew himself. His greatest sorrow and deepest regret would be that he had ignored Jesus’ words and trusted in himself, but that was part of God’s grace because the pain was so deep that he would not walk that way again.

Some of our hardest lessons are learned when we think we are stronger than we are but, just as Jesus knew what was coming for Peter, He knows us. We can never disappoint Him because He already knows what will happen before we fall. Why does He not intervene? He knows that we need these lessons to discover how incapable we are of doing anything without Him so that we realize how much we need Him.

It’s as simple as that!


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.