The Rooster Still Crows

3 Mar
 
The rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him,“Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.  Mark 14:72
 

Even if all the other disciples fall away, Peter intended to follow Jesus to death.  I believe he meant what he said.  In fact, after the rest of the disciples did fall away, Peter followed Jesus, if at a distance.  He stuck close enough to Jesus through the last night of his Master’s life that he got called out three times by strangers as having been with Jesus.

Peter declared he would follow Jesus, and he was the only one who actually did.  And the only one to deny Him three times in the darkness of a long, cold night.  His intentions and actions were well-meaning and heartfelt, but they were not enough.

In high school I spent a month living in Central America with relief workers out in the agrarian barrios where a sense of time came from the rhythm of life, not an electric timepiece.  Nights there are deep darkness– no street lights and very few lights of any kind break into the absolute black.  Life stops and everyone goes home to sleep under a mosquito net until dawn returns.  The roosters know when it is coming.  They begin with sleepy half-crows, but in just a few moments full-fledged morning announcements are erupting, answering one another, just before the sky turns one shade lighter than night.

I think that’s how Peter missed the first crowing that appears as a warning in verse 68.  But there was no missing the second one– or the cacophony that crescendo-ed until the sun appeared.  The roosters didn’t crow two times the morning of Jesus’ crucifixion and go back to sleep on their perches; they continued crowing incessantly with every muscle and feather for what must have seemed to Peter, an excruciating eternity.

And they crowed the same way the next morning.  And the next.  Every cry a brutal, ear-splitting accusation that cut deep into Peter’s soul.

After His resurrection, Jesus restored Peter three times, once for every denial.  After receiving the Holy Spirit, Peter went on to be the Rock he was named for and laid the foundation of the Church.  He did miracles, led a growing movement, and was killed for following Jesus.  (See the Book of Acts.) The same man who was afraid of a servant girl’s question before Jesus died, is mightily used by God after receiving the Holy Spirit.

His intentions and actions without the Spirit fell short of his desire; but inhabited by the Spirit, Peter accomplished what was impossible the night the rooster crowed.  Until he died, every morning when the reminder of who he was without the Spirit divided night from dawn, I believe he whispered a prayer of humble gratefulness to his Redeemer as he woke to serve Him another day.

——

Heart-check for Sunday

Is there anything blocking the Holy Spirit from working through me?  Unconfessed sin?  Distractions?

While leading others in worshiping God, do I allow the Spirit total access and control, or does my focus shift to my own inadequacies or abilities?

When I realize that I am relying on my own strength, do I humbly confess immediately, acknowledging I can do nothing on my own, but all things through Him?

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