I’m going to preface this writing by suggesting that you read Luke 22:31-34 to add more context.
Peter was a disciple of Jesus Christ. More than a disciple, Simon Peter was a friend to Jesus. Can you imagine being a friend of the one and only Jesus Christ? Getting to see all the things He did and the way He loved others. Peter had the model of everything good right in front of him. So, why did he not believe? Or is there a difference in not believing and denial? Why did Peter deny knowing Jesus, not once but three times?
54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.
56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.
58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied.
59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” 60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.Luke 22:54-62
This is sad and hard to read. I hope you feel some type of emotion when you read this passage and if you didn’t, keep reading it until you do. Not only was Jesus right about Peter but He watched it happen and then looked him straight in the face afterward. Here’s where things get tricky, what was Jesus thinking when He watched Peter deny him three times within one hour? Was it an “I told ya so” moment? Was Jesus mad?
Here is what I think the look meant. Take a look back at verse 32.
32 But I have prayed for you, Simon (Peter), that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”Luke 22:32
I think Jesus looked at Peter and gave him a smirk, something that would’ve said, “Now it’s time to turn back and strengthen your brothers.” Not a sarcastic smirk but something hopeful. Jesus prayed for Peter to have faith and now that he had denied him he had a decision to make. Should he sulk in his cowardice, be ashamed and walk away? Or would Peter take up his cross and follow Jesus, make more disciples, and strengthen those around him?
See, I think we are all Peter at different points in our lives. He is no different than you and me. Heck you may only be one denial in of a three part series. You may read this, think that you’re different and then turn away tomorrow in denial, just like Peter. God does not ask for your perfection or sound decision making all the time, He’s smarter than that. What he asks for is the turning back and strengthening others. That should be our test. Did we turn back? Are we constantly turning back? Are you strengthening your brothers and sisters?
Even if you feel like there is no way Jesus could love you after denying Him over and over, remember Peter and the look that Jesus gave him. Jesus looks at you the same way, with hope and love. Accept that grace and live into it.