Read: Mark 14
Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” And immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept. (Mark 14:71-72)
Oops, there he goes again. Poor Peter, he just can’t seem to catch a break.
He is the guy who boldly stepped out of the boat to walk on the water—and promptly sank like a rock. He was the one who inappropriately blurted out, “Hey, let’s build three tabernacles” when Jesus was talking about his impending death with Elijah and Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration. He was the first to declare, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” but within seconds was sternly rebuked when Jesus said, “Satan, get behind me, you are an offense to me.” Now, at the Last Supper, Peter blurts out, “if all else fall away, I never will”, but within hours he had denied Jesus three times!
Interestingly, each of the four Gospel writers—Peter’s brothers in Christ— have no problem recording Peter’s failures, particularly his denial of Jesus, in exacting detail, to be read again and again throughout the ages.
Peter’s blunder is like those sports bloopers of athletes blowing their teams chances for victory that get replayed over and over again on TV. Remember the poor guy named Steve Bartman, a Chicago Cubs’ fan who interfered with a Cub’s outfielder trying to catch a fly ball. The Cubs were in the playoffs for the first time in, like forever, and if they won, they would go to the World Series. And this over-zealous fan reaches out and takes a foul ball away from his own player, and the Cubs lose. That faux pas will be replayed on TV forever, or until the Cubs win the World Series, which may be just after forever!
So will Peter’s denial. But thankfully, the story doesn’t end with this fireside blooper. If you take a sneak-peak at the end of the story in Mark 16:7, after the crucifixion, when the women came early in the morning to the tomb on Easter Sunday, an angel at the entrance of the empty tomb gave them this message,
“But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that Jesus is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”
Did you notice the specific reference to Peter? “Tell the disciples…and you especially need to tell Peter!”
Why did Mark add this line? He specifically wanted Peter, and by extension, you and me, to know that the cross covers the worst of our failures, and by the cross God takes the initiative to restore us to full fellowship with himself. That is really the core message of the Gospel! Peter’s blunder forever reminds us that by the power of the resurrection, failure doesn’t have to be final and sin does not have to be fatal.
“Oops, I did it again” doesn’t get the final word on you. God’s grace does. Jesus made sure of that at the cross!
“Free grace can go into the gutter, and bring up a jewel!” ~Charles Spurgeon
What If God Took Over?
Doesn’t Peter’s blunder cause you to thank God for his great grace that is greater than all your sin? Maybe this is a good moment to do just that—thank God.