My mouth can get me in trouble. At least I blame my mouth, but I know that I thought it before I said it. It’s interesting that Jesus says our words come from the overflow of our hearts. (Matthew 12:34) It’s not really my mouth that gets me in trouble, but it’s my sinful heart being revealed. We try to hide so much in our hearts, but those things are really not hidden. In fact, the Scriptures tell us that we don’t really know our hearts because we’re deceived by them, but God knows them. (Jeremiah 17:9-10) What is the answer to this dilemma? I believe that the Lord showed me an answer as I was reading the other morning. The following passage is what I read. Please read it through to the end.
“Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the lights and looking closely at him, said, ‘This man also was with him.’ But he denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know him.’ And a little later someone else saw him and said, ‘You also are one of them.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I am not.’ And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, ‘Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about.’ And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 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.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:54-62
The account of Peter denying Jesus is so sad and we may be tempted to think, “I would never do that”, or “How could he do that after living with Jesus?”, or “Shame on Peter! I just don’t get it!”. The truth is, we are all capable of this sin. Have you ever been in a crowd who were speaking badly about Jesus, or the church? How did you respond? It’s a lot easier to be quiet in these situations, isn’t it? By our silence, we are denying Jesus and are just as guilty as Peter. So, what really struck me was how Jesus turned and looked at Peter after his third denial. Their eyes met. As I read this, my mind began to make pictures of the eyes of both Jesus and Peter. Our eyes can say a lot without us speaking a word. What did their eyes say that day?
His eyes were full of shame. Can you see it? Can you feel it? He may have had tears in his eyes and a downcast look. Although Peter and Jesus looked at each other, Peter may have looked away quickly in shame. We don’t know these things, but as we think about sin in our own lives, we can certainly identify with shame. The shameful eyes are devoid of hope. Shame has taken over and hope is a distant thought. Peter went out and wept bitterly. He could feel the guilt and shame of denying his Savior. If I were Peter, I would never forget that look from Jesus as the rooster crowed.
His eyes were full of love, compassion, and sadness. Can you see it? Can you feel it? Jesus always responds out of his love and compassion. Earlier in Luke, Jesus spoke with Peter telling him about his denial. The most important part of this exchange is, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32 Jesus had already prayed for Peter to not fail but also let him know that after repentance, he would be of great help to other believers. Jesus’ eyes were reminding Peter of his love and his prayer for him. Jesus has caring eyes.
Our Lord is the same today as then. He never changes. He knows our hearts and loves us still. When we sin against him, he causes us to feel guilt that leads to repentance. The biggest thing I take away from this is Jesus turns, not away from us but toward us. Sin doesn’t keep him from turning. He always lives to intercede for us. (Romans 8:34) When my mouth (really my heart) gets me in trouble, I can be sure that Jesus turns toward me and gives me the look to drive me to repentance. “And the Lord turned and looked…” Luke 22:61a That’s how much he cares for his children!