“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” (Matthew 26:34, NIV84)
I am certain that this was hard for Peter to hear. It is hard for us to read. Jesus knew (knows)! There is nothing that we can hide from Him. There is nothing about us that He doesn’t already perceive and fully understand. The “way, truth, and the life” knows everything about us that is lost, false, and dead. We can try to hide behind a sense of religiosity and holiness. We can use all the right words and have all the outward trappings of a saint; but Jesus knows the truth. Like Peter we are broken and wounded. It is always better for us to admit the truth than live our lives trying to defend a lie. Honesty about who we really are is key to a proper relationship with God.
Repentance is central to a true relationship with God. We must come to Him admitting our sinfulness and our great need for grace and forgiveness. Our righteousness begins and ends at the cross of Jesus Christ. We can only be set free from our bondage when clothed with the blood of the Lamb. This is what truly sets us free. As Luther says, we are “simultaneously sinner/saints”. We get up every morning in God’s grace and we go out and fight the fight and run the run. We will get hit. We will fall and get scraped up. But God sees our hearts and our commitment to love and to serve Him. He willingly accepts our repentance and provides us the grace and strength to do it again.
The truth is, Peter did deny Jesus. The truth is, it was a very painful thing for Peter to experience. The truth is, God loved Peter and quickly restored his repentant heart. Let’s be honest! We are just like Peter. Like him, let’s turn to Jesus with a repentant heart and find grace and forgiveness in His arms.