And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”
This truth is brought out most powerfully by a fact that is only recorded in Luke. When we are told that Peter denied the Lord for the third time and the rooster crowed, we read that, “the Lord turned and looked at Peter.” Oh, the awful realization that must have flooded over poor Peter at that moment. I would not want to have been in his shoes right then (though in a sense I, yes, all of us were). How very deeply moving is this scene, though extremely brief. It is compounded by the extremity of the situation. Here is the perfect, spotless, loving Lamb facing every enemy man would naturally fear if he were the least bit aware! The most sinister of these being the evil one himself! Bloodthirsty, insulting, and outrageous, this unjust trial leads to a most painful death. And in spite of such atrocities being perpetrated against the precious Lord Jesus himself, he has the presence of mind and the love of heart to turn and to look away from his own troubles upon that poor fumbling, spare-no-words spokesman for the disciples—Peter! Sorrowfully, not angrily, no doubt, Jesus “turned and looked at Peter” (v. 61). “Looked” here means to “direct one’s gaze in a specified direction.” In other words, Jesus intended to look directly at Peter. There was a sermon in that look. Oh, listen beloved. Anger would have been a better alternative than that plaintive gaze that seemed to burn a hole right through Peter’s already thinned out soul. This was a look Peter was to never forget.
My dear friends, 2,000 years has not blunted the edge with which that look cut right through the heart of Peter, and now cuts through every saint who has ever known the guilt of a similar betrayal. Know then, that the love of Christ, as J. C. Ryle says, is a “deep well which has no bottom. Let us never measure it by comparison with any other kind of love of man or woman. It exceeds all other loves, as far as the sun exceeds the rushlight [ a candle made by dipping the pith of a rush in animal fat ].”
Let us not be afraid to trust that love, when we first feel our sins. Oh, do not let the wicked devil convince you to sin and then compound that sin by telling you God will never forgive you. Oh, no! Let Jesus’ LOOK upon Peter remind you to come right away. Sorrow is certain, and unavoidable. Yes. But forgiveness can be yours as well. Never hesitate when forgiveness waits in the wings. Fly to Christ immediately. Do not wait. Let it claim no hold over you one split-second longer! No man need despair, however far he may have fallen, if he will only repent and turn to Christ. As Ryle says again, “If the heart of Jesus was so gracious when he was a prisoner in the judgment hall, we surely need not think he is less gracious when he sits in the glory at the right hand of God.”