As we approach Easter, I find myself thinking about Peter and his denial of the Lord.
Luke 22:60-62 says: But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about" And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, "Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times" And he went out and wept bitterly.
I'll bet he wept bitterly. Talk about an understatement. Can you imagine the weight carried in that look shared between Peter and Jesus? Poor, poor Peter. How humiliating. How disappointing. How crushing. They were friends, and Jesus even knew Peter would deny him, but Peter didn't believe it. Ye he denied the Lord any way.
Are we really so different?
My favorite thing about this story is the sweet forgiveness Peter receives later in John 21. Some of the disciples are out fishing when they realize Jesus is talking to them from the shore. Peter says, "It is the Lord!" and throws himself in the water to swim to meet Jesus standing on the shore 100 yards away. I love it. I LOVE that part. His denial didn't matter--all that mattered was the resurrected Lord waiting for him on the shore and he could. not. get. there. fast enough.
What kind of private conversation must they have had while they waited for the others to drag the net full of fish to shore? Did Peter beg for forgiveness? Did he throw himeslf at Jesus' feet? Did he embrace his friend? Did they weep? Did they laugh?
What kind of love is this, that Peter can deny the Lord and then be embraced by him as a friend a few days later?
And again, I ask, are we so different?
Will Jesus turn us away if we go running to him? Or will he wait for us--even though we have denied him in the face of his own humiliation?
Jesus said to [Thomas], "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him." (John 14:6-7)
Anyway...all this is to say: I bet Peter really gets down at the Resurrection celebration in heaven.