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Jesus Looked Straight at Peter
Have you ever made eye contact with someone in a crowded room and you know you’re thinking the same thing? As if having a conversation without saying a word? This is exactly the meeting Peter had with Jesus in the courtyard of the high priest’s house after Jesus was arrested.
It was early in the morning, probably before sunrise, and Peter had only caught a few moments of sleep which he had stolen while Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus had warned Peter the night before that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed. In other words, Peter’s faith was going to be completely destroyed before the sun rose.
Peter dismissed the idea as madness and vowed to die before denying Jesus, but things happened very quickly in the garden. Judas betrayed Jesus and handed him over to the high priests and temple guards. There was an angry crowd that was probably getting more upset the second time around. Peter and the other apostles had become very popular and their lives were in danger.
Peter went from bravely wielding a sword in the garden to sneaking into the shadows at the house of the high priest who led Jesus away. Something had made Peter believe and he was now in a position to live. It’s a human survival instinct called “fight or flight,” and Peter thought of both on this dark and harrowing morning. Finally he chose the plane.
The temple guards and the assembled mob had set fire to the courtyard of the chief priest. Peter was cold so he joined them around the fire, but sat at a distance. Peter was probably unsure whether he would be welcomed to attend the proceedings or be seized like Jesus. He rolled the dice and tried to go under the radar by silently warming himself by the fire.
However, this did not go well for Peter, and he was called three times around the fire as a follower of Jesus. Peter denied Jesus three times. On the third refusal, Peter heard the scariest sound he had ever heard… the crowing of a rooster.
Then it happened. The most life-changing event in Peter’s life. Something that would require Peter to go through the deepest, darkest pit of despair in his life and become an ardent disciple of Christ, willing to die. Jesus turned and looked straight at Peter, and Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken to him the night before.
That scene spoke so much that Peter could have written several books about it. The main thing that Jesus may have communicated with that look was, “I told you so”. Jesus knew that Peter would betray him, and Jesus also knew that Peter would hate himself for what he had done. Remember that the guards were kicking Jesus at that time. This man who knew that Peter was the Son of God, the Messiah, was being brutalized and mocked. It was heartbreaking for Peter to watch, but he caved when his skin was on the line.
God uses all things for His purpose. Peter had to go through his own trials of self-loathing and despair to be able to grow in faith after Jesus’ ascension. Peter had to grow up to endure his own martyrdom in the following years. If not, the faith may wither away and how will the gospel be preached in every corner of the world. Who will declare to the world that Jesus has washed away their sins. Could Paul have taken his place? Who would have told Paul? Finally, Paul built his ministry to the Gentiles on the foundation laid by Peter and the other apostles.
When Jesus was raised from the dead, he was especially mindful of Peter. Jesus knew how hard Peter was on himself. I suspect that Peter also suffered from deep depression after the crucifixion of Jesus. All of Jesus’ followers may have been sad and depressed, but Peter suffered more than most. After all, Peter had not only lost his friend and teacher, but he was haunted by the hurt of betrayal in Jesus’ eyes in that dark moment in the courtyard.
After Jesus rose and appeared to the apostles, he restored Peter. This must be the greatest moment of Peter’s life. Three times Jesus asked Peter “Do you love me?” as Peter denied Jesus three times. Three times Peter shouted “Yes!” Answered that. This account is found in John 21:15-19. Jesus commanded Peter to “feed my sheep” three times. Jesus was commanding Peter to establish and care for his church, and thus, follow him all the way to his own cross.
Peter is broken, restored and energized. God does the same with us. Those who want to follow and serve Jesus must grow, and there is no better way to grow than to be broken and rebuilt from the inside out. Never fear being broken. Although it may be painful at times, the rewards and blessings far outweigh the pain. God is calling you for a purpose and it has to be important or He won’t bother. Try to find your purpose and your journey will begin, just as Peter called Jesus in the fishing boat long ago.
“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than this?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Verily I say unto you, When thou wast young, thou didst clothe thyself, and went whither thou wouldest; but when thou art old, thou shalt stretch out thine hand, and another shall clothe thee, and take thee whithersoever.” Will lead there. Not going.” Jesus said this by what kind of death Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
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