Words of Faith 2-4-19
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 About an hour later another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean."
 Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.  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."  And he went outside and wept bitterly.
The one beautiful thing about this horrific moment is that we know that Peter will be restored. The restoration of Peter will take some time. In Mark's Gospel, Jesus tells the women on Resurrection morning to go and tell the disciples and Peter. Peter was named separately from the other disciples because he had chosen to disown Christ. The restoration will finally be complete in Galilee when Jesus appears to the disciples and to Peter. But here we see three powerful things happen that mark the beginning of Peter's restoration.
First was the gaze of Christ. We don't know precisely the proximity of Jesus to Peter. Jesus may have been passing back through the courtyard, or He may have been brought back out for the guards to beat Him. He may have been visible through a window. Whatever the case, when the rooster crowed, the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.
Perhaps proximity does not matter. But there is a moment of conviction when the Lord looks into our heart and sees where we have drifted and where we have denied. There is no escaping that gaze. Walls cannot exclude it. Fences cannot prevent it.
Second, Peter remembered the words of the Lord. It was all clear to him now. He was convicted in his heart of the sin of denying Christ. He remembered the words of the Lord. The essence of repentance is always remembering. If you are headed in the wrong direction and suddenly remember where you were supposed to be going, you turn around. If you are heading in a different direction and remember the correct route, you change course.
True repentance is not a struggle. It is not even difficult. If I suddenly realize that the road I am on goes off a cliff, it is not difficult for me to remember to turn around. For us, it may be remembering the time when we walked closely with Jesus and realizing that we have drifted. It may be remembering what it was like to hear from Him daily. It may be recalling our "first love" or remembering who it was that Jesus called us to be in Him.
Third, Peter responded in grief. Peter went out and wept bitterly, away from the people. This is often the case at the beginning of genuine repentance. Genuine repentance does not hold a press conference to give excuses and rationalizations. Genuine repentance does not write a "tell all" book and go on a book tour to promote it. Genuine repentance goes out away from other people alone and weeps bitterly. This repentance is the beginning of restoration.
The problem is that sometimes the rooster crows and instead of getting alone with God and getting things straight we stay in the crowd or hang out in the courtyard. If you remain in the courtyard, someone will probably convince you that a) you did not really deny Him b) your denial was not so bad c) your denial was justified under the circumstances, or, d) you really should stay in the courtyard to see what will happen next.
If there are enough rejecters in the courtyard, they will make denial seem acceptable. We can always find a group that will help us justify our sin, comfort our failure or coddle your transgression.
Years ago, I heard a saying that I wrote in my Bible: "Genuine Repentance abhors gentle names for sin." If we excuse ourselves, blame the crowd, or point out that we are no worse than others, we will not get back on track. The only way is to face the grief and the pain of our denial and to come home.
The restoration of Peter will take some time. Peter will finally need to work through this on a beach in Galilee with the resurrected Lord, but the at least he was headed in the right direction. He was headed home. Judas was not.
The big question: Where are YOU today? All this is just words unless we reflect upon it personally. We all need to ask ourselves: Have I been following at a distance? Have I sat down with the world and warmed myself at their fires? Have I found myself pretending not to know Jesus? Have I found myself by word or deed denying that I am a disciple? Have I found myself by word or deed claiming to know to know nothing?
This may be the moment when the rooster is crowing, your wake up call. This may be the moment when the Lord is looking directly at you. This may be the moment when the Lord is calling you to remember who you are and whose you are. If you have trusted in Christ as Savior, you are invited to be a disciple of Christ. You were bought with a price. This may be a moment for you to turn toward home and the restoration of your relationship with Him. If so, it is a time to turn around and walk with toward Him.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect... (1 Peter 3:15)
Jesus, forgive me the times I have hung back in the crowd, or warmed myself at the fires of the world, or denied You in word and deed. Restore me to a right relationship with You. Cast Your gaze upon me that I may remember and turn and even weep. In Jesus' name.