Luke 22:61-62 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62And he went outside and wept bitterly.
I cannot imagine the pain that Peter experienced after he denied Jesus the third time and the rooster crowed – and he saw Jesus look right at him. Their eyes met! Peter knew – that Jesus knew that it had happened just as Jesus had said it would. Then Peter went outside and wept bitterly. It was bad enough that Jesus had told him a few hours earlier that it would happen; but to have Jesus witness it and to look right at him at that very moment is pain and a sense of failure beyond imagining.
Peter had some other difficult moments. When he walked on water he sank. When he rebuked Jesus for talking about his coming suffering and death, Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” In the garden when Jesus was being arrested, Peter drew his sword and cut off Malchus’ ear, earning a rebuke from Jesus.
I find it so encouraging that in spite of these events, Jesus didn’t reject Peter and send him packing! Jesus chose him because he believed in him. When Jesus spoke to him of the denials, he also said, “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” After Jesus’ resurrection, the angel told the women who had come to the tomb, “But go, tell his disciples and Peter.” Then Jesus appeared separately to Peter. Think of what each of these would have meant to Peter as he struggled with his actions of denying his beloved Lord.
Peter was a mixture, just like you and me – lots of potential and lots of things to work on. In spite of difficulties noted above, Peter was the one who did walk on water. He was the disciple who first acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. He spoke for all the disciples to the crowd in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. He was rescued from prison by an angel. He was also the one who received the vision from God regarding the gentiles who then received the gospel at Cornelius’ house. Peter was one of God’s chosen servants who never gave up and God used him mightily. What an example he is for us!