MATTHEW 26:74-75: “Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.”
OBSERVATION: The story of Peter’s betrayal of Jesus is a story we all can identify with. Peter was resolute. He would not deny Jesus! He would stay strong, even if it meant his death! This is what Peter told Jesus. Yet, Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. This seemed impossible to Peter. Of course this would not happen – and yet, it did. Not only did the best intentions of Peter fail, Peter also cursed himself and swore that he never knew Jesus.
When the rooster crowed Peter was faced with the harsh reality of his failure. Peter had both denied knowing Jesus and he had cursed himself. We don’t know what Peter said, but we can imagine. Perhaps he said something like – “Let me be cut off from the people of Israel if I am one of His disciples.” Whatever he said the Bible is clear – he cursed himself. We too have cursed ourselves when we have said things like – “I’ll never make it.” “I’ll never amount to anything.” “How can God love me I am such a failure.” All of these forms of self depreciation are personal curses. They condemn us and they limit God.
Just prior to Peter’s denial Jesus had told Peter personally – “Watch and pray. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He was trying to prepare Peter for this very event. In the Gospel of Luke we read that Jesus told Peter – “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32). Jesus knew Peter would fail, but Jesus also prayed for Peter. Jesus’ prayer was greater than Peter’s weakness. And this is the wonder of this story.
When the rooster crowed Peter wept bitterly. He looked at Jesus and Jesus looked at him. I believe Jesus looked at Peter with love and compassion. Yet, at the moment Peter believed the curse he spoke over himself more than the Grace that was being extended to him. The Bible reminds us – where sin abounds, grace abounds the more. The power of this story is found in Peter’s restoration. The power of Jesus’ prayer and His love for us is greater than the power of our sin, failure, and self depreciation (curse). Jesus became a curse for us so that He could break every curse over us – especially the curses we speak over our own lives!
The same man who denied his Lord three times was restored when Jesus asked him three times – “Do you love me?” It was this same Peter, restored and filled with the Spirit of God, that Jesus used to begin His Church on the Day of Pentecost. It was this same Peter that Jesus used to first bring the Gospel to the Gentiles. It was the same Peter who could not even stand up for Jesus during the night of His trial, that after his restoration died for Jesus hung upside down on a cross. Church history tells us that Peter thought himself unworthy to die in the same way that his Lord had died.
This is a powerful story of restoration through the power of God’s love that can break every curse that has been spoken over our lives by ourself and others.
Lord, forgive me for the times that I have denied You by the way I have spoken or lived. Forgive me for the times I have cursed myself through self depreciation and doubt. Break the power of negative words and lies that try to take residence in my heart. Let me hear Your words over my life and restore me by Your Grace! May I be restored, filled, and empowered by Your Spirt and Your Great Love and Grace! Help me to finish well – as Peter did! In Jesus Name!