56 Then a maid, seeing him as he sat in the light and gazing at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22:56-62
It is worth repeating again…”And the Lord turned and looked at Peter”.
Do not just read it. Say it slowly. Savour every single word of that passage. Close your eyes. Envision it slowly playing out in your mind.
Three specific things happen in tandem. Just as Peter is speaking and finishing his third denial, the cock crows and Jesus looks over at Peter. All three things come together in one explosive instant of deeply seated meaning, sorrow, suffering, guilt, passion, sadness, regret, and humiliation.
I can just hear Peter whispering to himself, “My Lord…what have I done?”
That Look, that specific image of Jesus looking at Peter, will forever be seared into my mind and into my soul. The only difference is that in place of Peter, it is my eyes that Jesus looks into. It is deep in my soul that Jesus looks into. Like Peter, I bitterly weep.
How many times have I denied my Lord? Sorrowfully, I have lost count. I find this passage so powerful because the Look is not limited to a direct denial of our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, if one were to ask me to deny my Lord, I would stand my ground and not deny my Lord and my Saviour. No, it is those subtle times or instances when we believe no one is looking.
How many of us in conversation at work, or in a social gathering, have allowed others to disparage our faith and for ‘social politeness’ we have allowed it to go unchallenged? How many of us have allowed our children or other family members to indulge in behaviour not supported by our faith? How many times have we voted or supported a political candidate who promises to put, ‘more money’ in your pocket, yet supports policies inconsistent with our faith?
Each and every time anyone of us indulges in such behaviour or supports such actions, we deny the Lord as Peter did. We hear the cock crow as Peter did and our eyes meet the Lord’s – those same eyes from the passion. The Look, that deep Look that penetrates all the excuses we can ever come up with to justify our actions. That Look…Oh Lord my God…Yes…that Look.
There the Lord stood, in his innocence stained with guilt by his enemies. Not one word was shared, yet his look spoke of ancient scriptures, prophetic uttering’s and a long foretold Saviour that only Peter was able to discern. In that instant Peter knew he had not only denied his Master, but he had denied The Messiah, the Son of God, the One True Saviour. That was his burden to carry, and now, it is ours. I too weep bitterly.
Copyright 2015, Luciano Corbo