The Gospel of Matthew: a commentary & meditation 
"Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times."

Gospel reading: Matthew 26:69-75

69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a maid came up to him, and said, "You also were with Jesus the Galilean." 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you mean." 71 And when he went out to the porch, another maid saw him, and she said to the bystanders, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth." 72 And again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man." 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you." 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, "I do not know the man." And immediately the cock crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, "Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.
Meditation: How can faith be sustained in adversity? Peter was one of the two disciples who had the courage to follow Jesus in his passion.  John was with Jesus when he hung upon the cross at Golgatha.  Peter's courage, however, gave way to fear, fear for his own life.  Peter was overconfident in his own strength and now he must pay the price for his own disloyalty and denial of the Lord Jesus. Peter, after all, had been warned by his Master that temptation would come and he would fail the test. Mark records that Peter "broke down and wept" when he remembered Jesus' prediction that he would deny his Master. Unlike Judas who killed himself because his shame was devoid of any hope for forgiveness and restoration, Peter's grief was filled with sorrow for offending his Lord. When you meet failure and temptation, do you give in to despair and self-pity or do you turn to Jesus for the grace of restoration and beginning anew?

"Lord Jesus, you willingly suffered and died for our sake and for our salvation.  You took upon yourself the burden of our guilt and the punishment due to our sins.  Strengthen my faith and help me in my trials that I may never deny you or forsake your ways."

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 (c) 2002 Don Schwager