69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. 70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. 71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” 73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” 74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
There are few moments in Scripture better than the one above that give us a better picture of just how short we fall to reciprocate the love God has for us. Peter was one of the twelve disciples who walked closest with Jesus. He saw Jesus open the eyes of the blind, make a lame man walk, teach, love and raise the dead to life. Jesus even sustained Peter’s faith as he walked on water. Peter was the first person to rightly identify Jesus as the Son of God. But in this moment shortly after telling Jesus he would rather die for him than deny him, Peter denies Jesus three times.
While Peter denies Jesus, Jesus is preparing to pay the ultimate price for sin. Giving up his perfect life on the cross—the ultimate picture of love. Our lives are filled with moments of failing Jesus but finding a God who loves us enough to offer mercy and grace through the sacrifice of his Son.
After Peter’s denial, he bitterly weeps at what he has done. In the book of John after Peter denies Jesus, he returns to fishing (what he knew before following Jesus). I believe he went there because he thought there was no way of coming back after he failed Jesus so badly. But Jesus redeemed him and told him to show his love by “feeding sheep” -- or caring for people. Thankfully, God’s love is big enough and strong enough to endure our failed attempts to love Him back. God’s love is also big enough to redeem us and to use us. Take a moment and thank Jesus for loving us despite our lack of love and commitment to him. How do you respond to this kind of love amidst your failures?