Mark 14:70 – 72 Again he denied it.
After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”
He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”
Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
I hate to say it. I really do. But Peter was a bit cocky, don’t you think? After all, he was the one who spoke the loudest. “Oh, no, Lord! I will never deny you! I will stand right by your side, to the very end! “Even if all fall away, I will not. Even if I have to die with you, Lord, I will never disown you!” (v.30 – 31).
It’s a bit ironic that God chose to use a cock – a rooster – to show Peter his own cockiness and pride. Truly, Peter loved Christ. He really was devoted to Him. But He thought that he could rely on his own strength and willpower to see him through difficult times.
He was wrong.
You see, no matter how much we love the Lord, no matter how loyal and devoted we are, no matter how good our intentions are . . . we aren’t strong enough to stand up to Satan. Not all by ourselves. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we have the ability to stand firm under the worst of circumstances.
Satan knows our weak spots. He knows our private struggles and our secret fears. And he will aim for those – every single time.
Friends, we can stand around and crow loudly about how good we are, about what loyal, faithful followers we are . . . but honestly! We don’t know what we will do under dire circumstances. And if we rely on ourselves instead of the Holy Spirit to keep us strong, we will fail.
Every single time.
When Peter realized what he had done, he wept. Then, he picked himself up, dusted himself off, asked for God’s forgiveness, and went on to become the rock on which the early church was built.
Quite a contrast to Judas, who we read about yesterday, wouldn’t you say? Judas failed. Then he was finished.
Peter failed. He sought forgiveness. Then, he flourished.
Friends, we will all fail, at some time or another. Like Peter, we will crow loudly, only to realize later we have made a big mess of things. We can learn from Peter. When we mess up, and we realize it, we can weep. We can say we’re sorry. Then, we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get busy with the work that God has given each of us to do.
Thank You, Father, for giving us examples of imperfect people who accomplished Your perfect will – in spite of their flaws. Thank You for forgiving me when I mess up. Help me to forgive myself, and to continue, as best I can, to serve You – every day of my life.