A Dark Day for Peter

Wendy Blight

Day: 30 | Plan: Luke

Today’s Reading: Luke 22:39-71

Luke 22:61-62The 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.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly.”

Today Luke gives us a glimpse into one of the darkest days in Peter’s life: The day Peter denied knowing Christ. A denial that came just hours after Peter publicly declared he would lay down his life for Jesus. (John 13:37)

Oh, I’d like to criticize Peter. How could he, of all people, make this choice after what his eyes had seen, his ears had heard and his heart had experienced? But then I remembered some of my choices. My own seasons of regret where I chose self over my Savior.

To set the stage, let’s review a few significant conversations between Peter and Jesus. Jesus had warned Peter that Satan would sift him as wheat. (Luke 22:31) Satan would intervene in Peter’s life with the goal of destroying his faith and confidence. Jesus followed this warning with words of encouragement. Though in that moment Peter would fall, his faith would not fail. Peter would turn back and God would use his sifting to strengthen his brothers. (Luke 22:32) Peter had also declared his loyalty to Jesus, even unto death. But Jesus prophesied Peter would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. (Luke 22:34)

Now let’s join our story. After Jesus’ arrest, His disciples scattered and fled. Only John and Peter stayed behind. They followed Jesus to the high priest’s house. Peter waited outside in the courtyard, while John, known to the high priest, was allowed inside.

It was a cold night. To keep warm, Peter joined the high priest’s servants and officials around the fire. He sat with the enemy.

The sifting began. The denials ensued.

Initially, Peter denied knowing Jesus when a servant girl accused him of being with Jesus. (Luke 22:57)

Not long thereafter, Peter again denied knowing Jesus when a second person identified Peter as one of Jesus’ disciples. (Luke 22:58)

An hour later, Peter vehemently denied any association with Jesus when another stated surely Peter had been with Jesus. (Luke 22:60b)

In that moment, the rooster crowed. Jesus turned and looked into Peter’s eyes.

Jesus’ prophecy flooded back like an invisible sword piercing Peter’s heart. Peter fled, weeping tears of bitterness. (Luke 22:62)

I find it beautiful that in the midst of His personal pain and persecution, our Savior took time to minister to Peter. I’m certain Jesus’ look was not one of shame and condemnation, for that is not our Savior’s heart. He looked upon Peter to remind him.

Remind Peter of who he was.

Loved by Jesus. Called by Jesus. Equipped by Jesus.

Remind Peter of Jesus’ promises.

Jesus would pray for Peter. Peter would not fail. Peter would strengthen his brothers.

Peter was devastated. He wept bitterly. He grieved. But he didn’t remain in that place of hopelessness. Jesus’ kindness led him to repentance. His repentance led him to hope.

Peter’s sifting changed something deep within his heart. Jesus knew that. After His resurrection, Jesus sought out Peter on the shores of Galilee to restore, renew, equip and empower him for the next steps of Peter’s journey.

Friend, we too have stumbled and fallen. We too have sinned beyond what we think is forgivable. Jesus reaches out to us like He did Peter. His grace flows. His healing balm soothes. He forgives and empowers so that we too can be a light in this dark world, a vessel through which He can pour out His love.

Come to Jesus. He is waiting.

Prayer: Father, thank You that You love us unconditionally. Thank You that even in our deepest, darkest sin, when we confess our sin, You forgive. You draw us back by Your love and kindness. You receive us without condemnation or shame. You heal and restore by Your gracious hand. We thank You and praise You for Your faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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