Before the Cock Crows

(Luke 22:28-34)

Many times in the Bible we see Simon Peter’s weaknesses exposed. He was upbraided by the Lord on occasion, and he was also upbraided by the Apostle Paul when he drew back from mixing with the Gentiles. Peter made mistakes and he showed his humanity in many ways. In this section of scripture where Jesus tells him, “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times,” we see the great example of Peter’s humanity and weakness.cock crows

But in spite of those things, he was the Apostle chosen by the Lord Jesus to take the gospel to the world. He was the one who would hold the twelve together and be the pillar of strength that would make the twelve a cohesive force to speak the truth of the gospel and show the way of truth to the world. This section of scripture shows part of the reason why Jesus put such trust in Peter.

Satan’s Demands

Satan was aware of the purpose of the Apostles and would have been watching their development as they were led and taught by Jesus. He also knew they were still in a weak and vulnerable state. Thus he made demands of God to attack the disciples. It says here, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat” (Verse 31)

Several things become apparent when we review these words. First, the point I have just made, that Satan knew the disciples were vulnerable. At that time they could have been swayed and knocked about by the devil, had it been permitted.

The second thing we see is that Satan was not permitted to attack the disciples. They were under the protection of the Lord and the devil was not given permission to attack the disciples while they were still learning.

Peter’s Failure

Simon Peter was a man of God, but at this early time in his training in the things of the Lord he still had the problems of humanity. He would say things and make statements, but when push came to shove, would back down on those commitments. In this section is the classic example of that problem.

Peter told Jesus that, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” (Verse 33) This was a bold statement considering that Jesus had been warning the disciples he was going up to Jerusalem and would be put to death.

Peter was showing bravado in the face of the opposition that they knew was coming, which many of us do today. But when the time arrives many people shrink back and are unable to face their fears or the forces arrayed against them.

Jesus knew Peter was no different and that he would fall back. Jesus told Peter after Peter’s bold statement, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you three times deny that you know me.” (Verse 34) Jesus knew that Peter would fail, and indeed that all of his disciples would flee. However for Peter it would be worse because of the bravado and the statements he made to the effect that he would stand with the Lord to the death.

Peter’s Commission

But Jesus knowing all of this was unconcerned and he gave Peter a great commission. Jesus knew that Peter had an inner strength born of and based upon his faith in God. He knew that the disciples would need the strength that Peter exhibited to carry them through in the period after the Lord was put to death.

That is why Jesus commissioned Peter saying, “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.” (Verse 32)

Peter was going to fail, but he would also repent and turn back to the Lord in spite of his failure. And the Lord knowing this man of faith would be strong instructed him to strengthen the rest of the disciples. After the Lord was taken, the disciples would suffer a great loss and not know what to do next. So the Lord commissioned Peter to carry them forward, to help them through the period after Jesus’ death until His resurrection when they would all experience a joy that could not be taken away.

Satan’s Demise

And in the death and resurrection of Jesus Satan was defeated. Although he still had the power to “sift the disciples like wheat” and he can do it today, it was through the death and resurrection of Jesus that we received the freedom from sin, freedom from law and the receiving of the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus left and no longer walked with the disciples daily to protect and teach them, He gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit to protect, guide, counsel and teach His disciples. The devil may attack the disciples after the Lord went, but now he has to contend with the Holy Spirit.

And this promise of the Holy Spirit has come down to us today to learn and receive the gifts of God. Just as Peter went from a place of weakness to boldly stand and proclaim the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ at Pentecost through the power of the Holy Spirit, so too we have access to that power of transformation in our lives today.

(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Mohamad Yusran)

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