When I was a boy and a young man, there was no one on earth I loved and respected more than my Grandpa Burleson. I recall as a teenager thinking about how embarrassed I would be if he knew what foolishness I was getting in to, always hopeful he would never find out. It killed me inside any time I ever disappointed him. He never had to say anything; you just knew.
One can only imagine what went through Peter’s mind after he denied the Lord for the third time and heard the rooster crow. Only hours earlier, Peter had boastfully proclaimed his dedication and allegiance to Jesus, saying, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet will I not be” (Mark 14:29). And this from today’s reading, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death” (v 33).
Luke’s account paints this haunting scene, “Immediately, while he was still speaking (in denying the Lord – TC), the rooter crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ And Peter went out and wept bitterly” (vv 60-62).
What kind of look do you think Jesus gave Peter? Do you think it was one of satisfaction, saying “I told you so!”? Do you think it was one of anger? One with fire in His eyes? Hardly. One can only imagine the hurt in the eyes of the Savior as He and Peter locked eyes. Whether He heard Peter or was alerted by the crowing rooster, he was close enough to know that Peter had done exactly what He said.
Think about this as well… This was Peter’s last encounter with Jesus before His death. One can hardly think of how Peter must have felt after Jesus’ death, not having had the opportunity to apologize or make things right.
Perhaps this is why Peter received special mention after the resurrection of the Lord (Mark 16:7). Maybe the Lord understood that Peter needed a special measure of encouragement to overcome his dreadful deed. No matter. Peter went on to the greatness Jesus had spoken of him in Matthew 16, being the first to preach the gospel to both Jew and Gentile.
May we always live so as to never fear the gaze of the Lord. But if we fail, let us repent and dedicate ourselves to greater service in the kingdom.