Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a maid came up to him, and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” And when he went out to the porch, another maid saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately, the cock crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:69-75)
Additional Daily Bible Readings: Genesis 45; Psalm 59; Matthew 26:57–75
Weekly Reading: http://bit.ly/2B8e5CY
My grandparents’ farm, near Mt. Auburn, Indiana, was just a short drive from our home, so we kids spent as much time as we could on the farm—many weekends and most of the summer. There’s nothing better than summer days on a farm, with a rooster crowing as the first light of dawn peeks in through the window. I remember well the rooster crowing. I also remember being old enough to remember this passage from Scripture as I was lying in bed, wondering what Peter must have experienced as he heard the cock crow. Matthew tells us he went out and wept bitterly.
Matthew tells us about Peter’s weeping. He doesn’t tell us about Jesus at the cock’s crow, having been denied three times by his closest disciple, friend and confidant. Have you been betrayed by a friend? Jesus was denied by Peter three times. All of his disciples abandoned him and fled after he was arrested in the garden. No one stood by him. No one took up his cause. One of his friends sold him out for a bag of silver coins. If nothing else, the account of Jesus in the garden, as well as before the High Priest and Pilate, makes it clear that Jesus suffered alone, fulfilling the Father’s will without the least show of love, care or support from those closest to him. As we heard in verse 56 of this chapter, all this took place as the prophets had foretold, in fulfillment of the Scriptures.
We are in a unique time in history with Christians being “accused” for their faith, as radical terrorists in recent years challenging believers and threatening death if one confesses Christ. We thought those days were gone, that we live in a more civilized world. And yet, consider the many opportunities we have every day to confess Jesus Christ, to affirm that we are believers, to show that we are Christians by our love. We are blessed with many opportunities each day, in our own corner of the world, to share the Gospel, tell someone about Jesus, bring the light of Christ to someone living in darkness. May God give us the courage and strength, not to deny, but to confess Jesus Christ as Lord!
Prayer: Lord God, let me be bold in my faith, sharing Jesus in my thoughts, words and deeds. Amen.
Lenten Response: On a computer or smartphone, listen to the sound of a rooster crowing.
Video Devotional: From Ashes to Easter
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.