“When the servant girl saw Peter standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!”
But Peter denied it again. A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.” Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” And immediately the rooster crowed the second time.
Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.” Mark 14:69-72
Probably no man ever wept more agonizing tears than Peter did that night. To be the Lord’s lead disciple, chosen to be an Apostle yet deny the very one he, himself had first declared to be, “The Messiah, the Son of the Living God” must have been unbearable.
It had been so for Judas. We are told that Judas, “Repented himself” and tried to give back the money he had taken for betraying Jesus.
Judas had betrayed Christ to his enemies and Peter’s betrayal that same night was just as deep. Their sins are essentially the same, and Judas was in such anguish that he went out and hanged himself. Judas felt that his sin was unforgiveable.
But what we now know of the Lord’s love we know that no one is beyond forgiveness. Even those you and I might think should be, like Hitler, for instance, would be forgiven if they but turn to Him in repentance.
In taking his own life, Judas put himself beyond the reach of that forgiveness. Peter, on the other hand, though he wept bitterly lived with his guilt and shame until the day Jesus came to him and offered forgiveness.
Early one morning, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Three times Peter answered that he did. Without getting into the different words for love that each of them used, let me simply say that through the process, Peter’s heart must have been deeply touched for the Lord’s forgiveness is plain to see.
In light of Peter’s affirmation of love, our Lord instructs him to feed and care for His lambs and sheep. Peter is forgiven.
Is there anything more wonderful than the knowledge that Jesus stands ready and willing to forgive the most ugly sin if the sinner will but turn to him in repentance and receive it?
Pastor David M. Grey
Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church