In Luke 22, on the Passover night when he was to be betrayed, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. He also spoke of how Peter would deny him before the rooster crowed. The disciple, who was part of Jesus’ inner circle, found this absurd— how could he deny his beloved Master?
Jesus talked to His baffled disciples about arming themselves with swords as the days would darken. Peter took this to mean that they should fight. So, when the arresting party came, Peter drew his dagger and cut the ear of one of the soldiers, no doubt in valiant defense of his leader. Jesus healed the soldier’s ear, and the arrest proceeded as intended
In apparent concern for his Master’s welfare, Peter tailed the arresting party. He did not succeed in doing so incognito. When publicly confronted about his allegiance to this disgraced figure, he retorted with a firm denial. Thrice.
Peter committed his three-fold denial while literally following Jesus.
The rooster crowed, as Jesus had prophesied, and the Master glanced at Peter. What was the look on Jesus’ face? I-told-you-so? Mercy? Pain? The biblical accounts do not tell us. But we know that Peter ran off weeping bitterly.
Rewind to the Passover table earlier that night. Along with Jesus’ prophecy of Simon Peter’s denial came an assurance that he would still be accepted and would in fact strengthen his brothers.
In effect, Jesus told Peter: “You’re gonna do something shameful that will hurt me. But I have prayed for you. This low point will not destroy you. In fact, I will use this so you can bless others.”
What amazing grace from the Savior — for Peter, for all followers of Christ thereafter who may have also denied him some way or another. For you. For me.
Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
Luke 22:33-34 NLT
Our declaration of faith sometimes does not match our true faith. The former is exaggerated, oftentimes without our own knowledge. Until the LORD, in mercy, shows us the true state of our heart and the real measure of our faith. Not to spite us. But to grow us in deeper authenticity and faith.