The gospel of Luke tells us about Peter, the leader of the apostles, and his fall. You and I have read often about Peter’s denials, plural, and eventually the rooster crowing leaving Peter in a state of emotion filled with tears and bitter weeping. Every Christian at some point in their life has had a “rooster moment.” You remember don’t you, that time you failed the Lord and immediately your spirit was crushed. All four of the gospels tell the story of Peter and his downward path toward denial.
The first picture I want you to think about is Peter’s attitude. His “rooster moment” began well before the cock crowed. It began hours before in the Upper Room. The place Jesus had taken his merry band of men for final instructions and the last supper. We find this taking place in Luke 22:31-34. The Lord Jesus is speaking, and we find Peter ignoring the words and offering his own words in their place. Peter is talking and not listening. The man is over-confident in himself. I have heard from my childhood this adage- “God gave you two ears and one mouth. He intended for you to listen twice as much as you talk.” Peter should have heeded that advice.
The next picture we will look at is Peter in the courtyard of Caiaphas’ house. Luke 22:54-55 tells us Peter was following Christ at a distance and he was seated with the haters of Christ around a fire pit. Then we see the truth that Alexander McLaren said, “One sin makes many. The Devil’s hounds always run in packs.” Previously he had been prideful and over-confident and now we find him warming by the devil’s fire. He sins again, and again, and again by offering denials about his relationship with Jesus. The first denial was to a little servant girl (v.56-57). The second denial came later when someone said to him, “You are one of them.” (v.58). The third denial came about an hour after the second denial and Peter began to curse according to Matthew 26:74. Can you imagine that? The man Jesus put in charge of his followers is now swearing oaths and cursing with the best of fisherman trying to convince the unsaved world he wasn’t with Jesus.
The last picture is found in Luke 22:61-62. It is daylight now and Christ is leaving Caiaphas’ home headed to the Praetorium. The last thing Peter sees is the Lord being led away. As he’s walking, Jesus turns his head looking into Peter’s eyes. These were the kindest eyes that ever looked into Peter’s soul and at that moment the rooster crowed. Only a few hours before Peter was talking and not listening. It was at this moment the crushing weight of his sin came upon his soul with full force. The text tells us that Peter went out. That means he left the courtyard with this huge burden of guilt and when he found a place to be alone he wept bitterly.
This “rooster moment” taught him some things. Vanity, pride, self-confidence, and being rash always leads to failure. He learned humility, to have confidence in God, as well as a few others since he shared his story with others. How do we know this? He was the only one of the apostles around. None of the others were even present, so he must have shared it with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Matthew Henry divides this story into two parts. One, Peter’s fall and two, his getting up.
When your rooster crowed, what happened? Genuine repentance? Learned lessons? Walking much more carefully? Have you fallen back into your old ways or are you being careful knowing that “one sin makes many. The Devil’s hounds always run in packs?”