In the chill of the evening, they stroll to the Mount of Olives.
Along the way, Jesus talks to the disciples, preparing them for the coming ordeal, and says, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night.”1
Peter stops dead in his tracks, turns to Jesus and declares, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”2
Laying His hand firmly on Peter’s shoulder, Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have you, to sift you like wheat, but I have pleaded in prayer for you that your faith should not completely fail. So when you have repented and turned to Me again, strengthen and build up the faith of your brothers.”3
He continues, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know Me.”4
Peter, grasping Jesus’ hand and falling at His feet, cries out, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”5
Leaving this area, they all head for the garden of Gethsemane, with Peter following Jesus so closely that He can detect Peter’s breath. The events of the evening, known only to Jesus, begin to play out. The soldiers arrive and arrest Jesus, then lead Him away with Peter in tow.
On their way to appear before Caiaphas, the soldiers stop before the assembled chief priests and scribes in the high priest’s courtyard. Peter slips over to join the servants warming themselves by the fire in the courtyard.
Three accusations unfold, followed by three denials.
The words of his precious Lord echo through Peter’s mind and stab him in the heart: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
The saddest moment of Peter’s life is then exacerbated as the Lord turns and looks at him.
Oh, what a look that must have been. And “Peter went out and wept bitterly.”6
How chilling that crow must have sounded; how grievously Peter’s heart must have pounded.
Was that the end of the crowing? Doesn’t a rooster crow each morning?
Wouldn’t that cock-a-doodle-doo pierce Peter’s ears and heart each dawn as the enemy’s condemnation, a reminder of his failure?
But wait! What was that noise three days later…on resurrection morn? Didn’t the cock crow that daybreak also? Did Peter’s heart change that day?
In the years that followed, did he continue to hear that daily crowing as the enemy’s memento of opposition to his heart’s desire to serve the Lord or as the Lord’s resurrection reveille to rise up out of despair and serve Him?
Does the enemy crow in your ear? What does he bellow at you? Condemnation of your past? How unworthy you are? What a stupid thing you did? You’re a failure? Why would anyone want to hear what you have to say? You’re a lost-cause at business? You’re a terrible spouse or parent?
Or do you hear that triumphant shout of resurrection morn? Telling you that you have victory over your past? That the Lord gives you strength for each task? That you are blessed beyond measure? That you are loved more than you can comprehend? That you are a delight to your heavenly Father’s heart? That you can do all things through Christ?
Does each dawn’s awakening cry encourage you, as “His mercies begin afresh each morning”?7
Which crow are you listening to…the enemy’s attempts to crow in opposition to all that you do, or the Lord’s resurrection reveille to rise up out of despair and serve Him?