“At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered that the Lord had said, ‘Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.’ And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.” Luke 22:61-63
At eleven years old I entered Boy Scout troop 91 in Louisville, Kentucky. The scout master was Mr. Nathan Norton. He was a great role model for young men and I greatly respected and admired him. During one of the weekly scout meetings he divided us up by patrols to participate in a game designed to encourage teamwork and trust. Each patrol sat on the floor with their backs to a table placed in the center of the room which was filled with a couple dozen objects. Each patrol was brought to the table, given a short time to look at the objects, and then sat back down repeating the process with each patrol. The group remembering the most objects won.
At one point I took an unfair glance at the objects and as I turned back around my eyes met Mr. Norton who had seen what I had done. I quickly took my eyes off him, and, as I did, I felt shame and embarrassment, but the worst feeling was I had betrayed the trust of a man I deeply respected and who thought well of me. It was difficult for me, but I went to him and confessed my deed to which he quickly forgave me. While I regretted my foolishness and received a gentle rebuke, I also experienced power in the forgiveness in his voice and the expression from his eyes.
How awful and empty Peter must have felt when after his third denial of knowing Jesus the Lord turned and looked at him. Peter had been told it would occur, but he insisted he would remain loyal even to the death. Instead he had failed, was humiliated, and, worst of all, realized he had let down the one he loved and respected most. Jesus not only told Peter beforehand he would deny Him, but made provision by going on to tell him when he repented of the failure he would turn and encourage his brothers.
The full power and freedom in the grace and forgiveness of God through Christ will, I think, only be fully experienced in eternity when we gaze into His eyes.
Sufficient words to express Your grace and forgiveness do not exist, yet this morning my heart is alive with gratefulness. Amen.
“Morning by morning He wakens me and opens my understanding to His will.” Isaiah 50:4