This Friday, let us look back in on Peter, and more importantly, on Jesus. We’ve heard about Jesus’ prayer for him. Here, the story continues. But first I must offer a CAUTION. This story and this devotional must be read with an eye towards the Good Friday sermon we will hear this evening. Without it, this story will only be one of man-centered failure. With it, this is the story of a need gloriously fulfilled.
Friday, APRIL 10th
Larger Portion of Scripture - Luke 22:47 - 23:57
Focused Passage for Reflection - Luke 22:54-62
Reflecting on the Text:
The opening of the scene is striking…and heartbreaking. It was set sometime in the early hours of Friday morning. Satan had already demanded, Jesus had already prayed, and here, it all played out.
Jesus, the Lord of Glory had been seized and was brought to the high priest’s house, likely in chains. Peter, His disciple and friend sat free. And then the questions came. The first was from a servant girl. Then, one came from a man in the crowd. Finally, a third insisted that he had been with Jesus.
Peter denied Jesus, again and again, and again. He lied about the most beautiful relationship he had ever experienced. In the moment of truth, he went weak. Can you feel it? Can you feel the emptiness of failure? Can you feel the remorse of sin? As soon as the third denial came out, a rooster crowed, just like Jesus said. And then, "the look." Verse 61 tells us, “The Lord turned and looked at Peter.”
What about that look? Can you feel it? Can you see it? Maybe this episode brings to mind flashes of your own weakness, just as it does mine? What is the look you imagine on Jesus’ face at that moment? The passage doesn’t tell us, but we all imagine an expression. What is it?
Peter wept bitterly. But was it the look, or was it the reality of his sin? At that moment, there was no denying it. He was no longer contemplating a hypothetical situation. The moment came, and he failed. He denied his Savior. Sadly, I’ve had those moments, and I imagine you have too.
But again, the look? Scripture doesn’t tell us what expression Jesus had on His face and any guess would merely be conjecture. But we know His actions, and we know the purpose behind His actions. Jesus went willingly to the cross to save sinners. It was, as Hebrews 12:2 tells us, “the joy that was set before Him.” He loved Peter. He knew that Peter would fail, and He had prayed for Peter and His turn.
Maybe we imagine a look of scorn. Maybe we imagine a look of disappointment. But would that be consistent with what we know about Jesus and why He went to the cross? I don’t think so. Jesus would not have been nonchalant about Peter’s sin. After all, it was his sin (and ours) that necessitated the cross. But the look must have been one of love. The Savior who would pray for the Father to forgive those who scorned Him on the cross would have certainly looked upon one of His closest friends with love. Rather than disdain, wouldn’t He have looked with pity for the pain Peter would have felt at that moment?
What look do you imagine? While we don’t know for sure, we must imagine a look that would be in keeping with the Scripture. It must have been the look He took to the cross. For He went to the cross with purpose…to accomplish salvation, for Peter, and for us.
Questions for personal reflection:
On this Good Friday, will you take the time to consider your personal need for the cross of Christ?