‘Man of Sorrows! what a name / for the Son of God who came…’
The familiarity of this story robs it of none of its power or poignancy. There is a downward progression in Peter’s actions. He starts by the fire in the courtyard with a mild denial, he moves to the gateway, and he concludes with a denial accompanied by oaths. But before we come down on him, let’s remember that he was there, drawn by his love and determination to follow. Others had already deserted, but Peter was hanging in there. So far so good, but as the pressure builds he cracks. Let’s remember, too, the times that we have failed; we had the best of intentions, we loved Jesus, were determined to stand for him, but didn’t. The truth is that we can readily identify with Peter. The story of his failure ca give us hope; we are not alone.
If all we can do is to share in failure, however, that is small comfort. We need to see that there is a way back. The crowing cockerel is a mark of grace. Jesus had warned him, and had promised to be with him. As the sound breaks on his war, Jesus’ words flood back and the enormity of his action is borne in on him. His tears are the start of the way back that will be completed after the resurrection. Later he will be asked if he loves–at the point he knows already just how much he loves, and it breaks his heart. If we truly love Jesus, every weakness, but we can know that Christ will not desert us. If we have not wept our sin and failure, perhaps we have yet to learn how to love as we should and perhaps we have yet to understand just how much we are loved.
Pause to thank God for his love for you and to reaffirm your love for him