Peter denying Jesus 3 times before the rooster crowed is one of the most discussed events in the Bible. And it’s also one of the most encouraging. In Luke 22:31-32, Jesus tells Peter that Satan wanted him, but Jesus Himself fought and prayed for him. He prayed that Peter’s faith not fail. He knew that Peter was going to mess up and deny Him 3 times, but He tells Peter to get over this mistake and come back to strengthen his brothers.
He wanted Peter to know that this mistake didn’t have to define his destiny.
Jesus saw through Peter’s weakness to his strength and his potential. Then after Peter denied Jesus 3 times, verse 61 says, “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.” I don’t think the look was one of condemnation because there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ, even though I’m sure that Peter felt condemned. I don’t think Jesus was thinking, “Hey, didn’t I tell ya?”
I think the look was one of compassion.
I think Jesus knew the deep shame that Peter felt at that moment. For Peter, this was a monumental failure. Earlier Peter declared in verse 33, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Then the time came and Peter screwed up.
But Jesus knew that this moment would not become Peter’s legacy. He had already called Peter the rock upon which He would build His church.
What was the point in Peter’s denial of Jesus? Maybe it was to encourage us. Out of the 12 disciples, he was one of Jesus’ most intimate friends. He had earlier exhibited such great faith as to walk on water. He was told that the church would be built through him. Then he experienced the ultimate failure. He denied Christ.
But he did recover.
He went on to preach to more than 3000 on the day of Pentecost. He performed miracles. And when he was taken to the Council and was commanded to stop speaking about Jesus, he refused saying, “”Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20. He put his life on the line.
This is good news to all of us.
We all make mistakes. God is not surprised, as He wasn’t surprised by Peter’s mistakes. But He looks on us with compassion and Jesus sits at the right hand of God praying on our behalf that through these mistakes our faith will not fail.
Because He still has great things in store for us to do…just as He did with Peter.
As Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12
So, take heart. Allow your mistakes to be a part of your past, not your present. You have a destiny to fulfill. As a follower of Jesus, He has “greater things” for you to do.