“A cockerel crowed. Peter… went out and cried and cried and cried”
What’s wrong with Peter? Why get so upset over a cockerel crowing? Look into this story from the Bible and you’ll find that that noise meant much more to Peter than the arrival of dawn. It was a whole different type of wake-up call.
Peter was one of Jesus’ followers. At the time coming up to Jesus’ death Peter and the other disciples had lost their focus. While Jesus was preparing for His coming arrest and crucifixion they were arguing about which one of them was the greatest. Jesus reminded them that He had come into the world to serve: “who was the greatest” was the opposite of what their attitude should be. Jesus had warned His disciples about his impending crucifixion many times. Now He quoted a prophecy foretelling that they would abandon Him around the time of His death. Peter was having none of this:
“Even if everyone else falls to pieces on account of you, I won’t. I’m ready for anything with you. I’d go to jail for you. I’d die for you!”
Matthew 26v33, Luke 22v33
Jesus responded that before the cockerel had crowed the dawn Peter would have denied Him three times.
Peter made a passionate - though misguided - start in keeping his promise. When the soldiers came to the garden of Gethsemane with the chief priest to arrest Jesus Peter attacked the priest’s servant with a sword. Fortunately he didn’t seriously wound the servant as was no-doubt intended but only cut his ear off. Jesus rebuked Peter, healed the servant, and allowed Himself to be taken.
Peter then followed at a distance.
It was a cold night and people were gathering round a fire in a courtyard. A woman recognised Peter: “This man was with Jesus!” “I don’t know what you’re talking about”, Peter retorted. A man also thought he recognised Peter: “You’re one of them”. “I swear, I’ve never laid eyes on the man”, Peter snapped. Again more people identified Peter as one of Jesus’ followers: “You’ve got to be one of them. Your accent gives you away”. Now Peter was getting angry. He began to swear and shout: “I don’t know the man!”
A cockerel crowed.
Now we know why Peter was so upset. He remembered Jesus’ prediction. He had broken his promise; he had failed. This wasn’t the end for Peter though. When Jesus had risen from the dead He came to speak to Peter. “Do you love me?” Jesus asked. “Lord, you know that I love you.” Peter replied. The question was asked and answered another two times: one declaration of love for each denial. Jesus then told Peter to look after His followers. Peter did just that. He even went on to die for Jesus just as he had promised.
Maybe you feel like Peter did at the beginning of the story. Does your life seem a failure? Like Peter in the garden do your best intentions fall short? Are you are a Christian who is now only following Jesus “at a distance”.
There is hope!
Jesus forgave Peter for abandoning Him. Peter was able to come back from his failure and serve Jesus in a remarkable way. If you do not know Jesus yet, Jesus says that He will accept you and change your life: “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6v37) God also tells the Christian: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”(Hebrews 13v5)
You can find new life this Easter.