…and He Broke Down Sobbing

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Deuteronomy 28-29; Mark 14:54-72

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66 Meanwhile, Peter was below in the courtyard. A woman, one of the high priest’s servants, approached 67 and saw Peter warming himself by the fire. She stared at him and said, “You were also with the Nazarene, Jesus.”

68 But he denied it, saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t understand what you’re saying.” And he went outside into the outer courtyard. A rooster crowed.

69 The female servant saw him and began a second time to say to those standing around, “This man is one of them.” 70 But he denied it again.

A short time later, those standing around again said to Peter, “You must be one of them, because you are also a Galilean.”

71 But he cursed and swore, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”72 At that very moment, a rooster crowed a second time. Peter remembered what Jesus told him, “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down, sobbing. (Mark 14:66-72, Common English Bible)

What makes you weep? What is it that makes your heart hurt to the point you begin sobbing, either literally or figuratively? Sometimes, when something hurts me, I might sob figuratively. I might sob both figuratively and physically when I see something that hurts a child. I think it is a sin to be the country that feeds the world and we have children who are malnourished, children who don’t have enough to eat. But most of all, I sob when I hurt someone, particularly someone I care about, by my words, actions, or both.

It is hard for me to imagine what Peter must have felt when he heard the rooster crow for the second time. He played the big man before. He swore that even if everyone else left Jesus alone, he would not.

He never saw it coming. He was scared. No one wants to be arrested. He loved Jesus but denying you knew him was safe, it was easy. Peter probably felt shocked when Jesus told him he would deny him three times. How could Jesus say such a thing? After all they had been through together, didn’t Jesus realize Peter would never leave him. Even if everyone else left Jesus alone, Peter knew without a doubt he would stay with Jesus.

Then the unthinkable happened. Despite his answer that was so strong, despite what he knew in his heart, despite the love he had for Jesus, he denied him and in the distance, a rooster crowed. He denied Jesus again. And then, for the third time Peter denies Jesus and again, he hears the rooster crow and Jesus’ words came storming back into his mind. What had he done? Exactly what he said he wouldn’t do. Exactly what Jesus said he would do. Quite literally, it was enough to make a grown man cry.

I am afraid most of us would act just like Peter. We might not fall into the crying but we could surely be part of the denying. We already are. We deny Jesus when we fail to love our neighbor. We fail Jesus a second time when we fail to pick up our crosses and follow Him.

But, if we think back and remember when we studied in Matthew a month or so ago, Jesus gave grace to Peter. “Peter do you love me…” Of course, Peter loved Him. Jesus knew that. But, Jesus also knew that Peter was still grieving with himself for what he had done. In the same sentence, Jesus gave him both grace and a mission. Would Jesus give him an assignment, a mission if He hadn’t already forgiven Peter?

Jesus does the same for us. “Tom, do you love me?” “Sarah, do you love me?” “Feed my lambs.” Jesus forgives our blunders of many types and kinds. It is that unmerited gift from God we have talked about recently.

Jesus gives grace. But then my friends, it is time to go to work.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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