READING: Leviticus 14, Matthew 26:51-75
“And he went out and wept bitterly.”
It was only hours before that he had said he would die for Jesus. “He” was the tough, seasoned fisherman Simon Peter, the leader of the disciples. He had left his boats behind to follow Jesus, and he surely never thought he’d find himself in the position in which he now found himself. Every gospel, in fact, records this part of his story.
Jesus had warned Peter that he would betray Him three times before the rooster crowed (that is, before the next day came), and Jesus’ words had now come true. Three times, and with escalating force, Peter had said that he did not know Jesus. With the words of Jesus and the sounds of a rooster echoing in his ears, Peter melted under the shame and conviction of his actions. All he could do was leave the crowd and weep bitterly. Seemingly with the same kind of passion with which he said he would follow Jesus, Peter now sobbed uncontrollably.
Jesus, even while under arrest, also looked at Peter when he denied Him (Luke 22:61). Their eyes connected, and Peter’s grief apparently shook him to the depth of his soul. He had tried to hide his relationship with Jesus, but it’s doubtful he could fully hide his grief – a strong sign that his love for Jesus was, in fact, genuine. His anguish was not that he had simply denied his own words; it was that he had let down the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Nothing less than brokenness over his sin was appropriate for the fallen fisherman.
I don’t ever want to deny Jesus like Simon Peter did. I know that in some ways I deny His lordship whenever I sin, but I pray I'll stand up for Him under pressure. Whatever choices I make in life, though, I hope that my grief over sin is just as deep and just as consuming as Peter’s was. I want to see my sin as not just wrong actions, but as offense to a holy God – so much so that all I can do is grieve profoundly. It’s that kind of sorrow that marks true repentance and paves the way for reconciliation with our holy God.
- Ask God to break you over any sin you commit today.
- Praise Him that your failures, like Simon Peter’s, are not the end of the story.
PRAYER: “God, bring me to weeping and repentance over my sin today.”
TOMORROW'S READING: Leviticus 15-16, Matthew 27:1-26