But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about?’ At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22: 60-62)
I’ve often wondered how Jesus looked at Peter after his friend had denied knowing Him three times. Put yourself in Jesus’ place for a moment. If one of your best friends denied you, how would you look at them? Would you feel so betrayed and angry that your heart would turn cold and hard?
Jesus’ heart isn’t our heart. I don’t think He looked at Peter with anger—disappointment maybe, but not anger.
I also don’t think Jesus’ heart turned cold. Instead, I believe His heart went out to Peter because He knew Peter’s own heart would soon be breaking.
When Peter was denying Jesus, the cock kept on crowing. The cock still crows. The disciples of Jesus—that’s you and me—can still deny knowing Him by what we say and don’t say, by what we do and don’t do.
How does Jesus look at us when we deny Him? Perhaps with disappointment, but not the kind of disappointment we might imagine. I don’t believe Jesus is so much disappointed in us as He’s disappointed for us. He knows that just as Peter wept when he remembered denying His Lord, so Jesus anticipates we’ll weep when we fully recognize how we have done the same. He knows that when we deny Him, we deny ourselves, our faith, and our hearts.
Even though we deny him, I encourage us to remember that Jesus never denies us. Jesus always looks at us with love because His love isn’t contingent upon what we do or don’t do, say, or don’t say. If we always remembered that Jesus always looks at us with love, we might deny Him less often.
- Although you may never have overtly denied Jesus like Peter, rare is the person who hasn’t at some point denied Him in more subtle ways. How might you have done so?
- When you’ve fallen short of living into the promises you’ve made to Jesus, how do you think Jesus looks at you? Do you think it’s possible that you look at yourself with much more disappointment than He does?
- Like Peter, I’ve wept when I felt like I’d somehow denied or disappointed Jesus. Have you ever wept when you felt the same? If so, how do you think Jesus responds to your tears?