THE WORD IS
ON GOOD FRIDAY
Matt. 26:75 "And he went out, and wept bitterly."
We can sometimes learn more during the course of one day than we can learn during our whole lifetime. Such a meaningful day to the Apostle Peter was the day of Jesus' suffering. Both his knowledge of himself as well as his knowledge of Jesus deepened immeasurably.
The season of Lent would be a blessed one for us, if what happened to Peter also happened to us. Jesus had called Peter to be His Apostle. Peter had listened intently to Jesus' teaching. He was always ready to speak and was often the spokesman for all the Apostles. In Peter's heart, however, there was some false self?confidence and pride. When Jesus before His suffering told the Apostles that they would all forsake Him, Peter, speaking for himself, said: "Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away" (Matt. 26:33). That's when Peter's downfall began. When Jesus, in the Garden of Getsemane, asked him to watch and pray, Peter fell asleep. There in the Garden he also, by his own authority, took his sword and cut off an ear from a servant of the high priest. In the courtyard of the high priest Peter denied Jesus three different times. Pride caused the chain of events that led to his downfall. "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling" (Proverbs 16:18).
The crowing of the cock came at the nadir of Peter's fall. The dawn was breaking and nature was beginning to awaken. The crowing of the cock meant the breaking of dawn also in Peter's darkness. Proud Peter is reminded of his denial of the Savior - reminded not by another person, but by a cock, a creature whose lord man was created to be! A humbling experience, but Peter had to accept the admonition. May every dawn of a new day also remind us of our weaknesses and warn us concerning the insidious sin of pride.
When the cock had crowed Jesus turned and looked at Peter. Beneath Jesus sweat?covered brow are the eyes into which Peter has often looked. Even now he looks into them and sees that they reflect that love, which was ready to drink the cup of suffering to the last drop also for Peter's sins. This causes Peter to break down. He goes out and weeps bitterly. Observing the suffering of Jesus can also break our proud hearts and lead us to repent.
Jesus had prayed that Peter's faith would not fail. He had also said: "When once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22:32). As a humble brother, aware of his own weaknesses, Peter's readiness to speak served others to their advantage. Because he himself had fallen so deeply and had been forgiven, he now knew how to strengthen other weak believers. He himself had experienced God's fathomless love.
From experience Peter therefore knew how to warn others: "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time" (l Pet. 5:5,6).