God’s word says we are often like someone who looks in a mirror—we see the person there. We look and assess, but then when we walk away we immediately forget what we saw.
How often have I looked into the mirror of God’s word with what I think are epiphanies and revelations only to turn around and forget all I just read. I forget what I just studied. I forget what the Word of God says even after reading it over and over.
I get frustrated. As many times as I have studied Paul’s letter to the Ephesians I should have it memorized. Seriously. Memorized.
But I don’t.
And I forget what it says.
Until the Spirit reminds me. Until that Word becomes pertinent. Until it is needed to speak to my circumstance. My situation. My predicament. My crisis. My heart.
I think of Peter who spent 24/7 with Jesus for three years. Yet he forgot.
He assured Jesus he would die for him. Would follow him anywhere. Peter meant it at the time. Thought his words were truth. Thought his words were the reality. But Jesus looked at him and spoke in sorrow.
Peter, before the rooster crows you will deny me three times.
Incredulity crossed the weathered face of Peter. His eyes locked with Jesus and he waited for the familiar twinkle indicating a joke was coming; he waited for the punch line. But the punch line didn’t come. Jesus’ words were not in jest. He wasn’t teasing. And Peter couldn’t shake it off. He mumbled and muttered he would never be the one to do such. He had been through everything with Jesus.Like a man looking in a mirror Peter turned away (Jesus asked him to pray, remember?). The events of the night began to unfold. Fiercely intense.
Peter forgot the rooster.
He forgot much of Jesus’ teaching that night. Turn the other cheek among them. In the midst of his sword slicing off Malchus’ ear he forgot so much of what Jesus taught.
Somehow Peter followed Jesus. Made it to the outer courtyard. Close enough to have a line of vision to the interactions happening with Jesus.
But he forgot the rooster.
You are not one of his disciples are you? Don’t you wonder what the tone was considering how quickly Peter spouted back in defense?
And Peter forgot. Forgot Jesus’ warning.
Aren’t you one of his disciples?
And Peter forgot. Forgot who Jesus told him he was. Forgot that he was a rock, albeit a small one, but a rock nonetheless.
Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?
And Peter forgot. Forgot that the kingdom had come. Forgot all the words he had proclaimed. HE forgot.
The rooster crowed.
The last faint strains of the early morning crowing pierced through Peter’s flesh. Daggered his heart. Collapsed the air from his lungs.
Even before the rooster’s beak closed and his wings folded Peter remembered.
He remembered Jesus’ words. Remembered the warning: the enemy had asked to sift Peter like wheat.
The ash from the fire floated up on the warm currents of air, but Peter saw it only as chaff flying.And he wept.
Peter ran out of the courtyard, bent.
This great burly, hard-core fisherman wept until his tears were spent. Depression threatened.
The enemy hovered.
But the Holy Spirit, who is the counselor and reminder of all truth, came to Peter.
The Holy Spirit enabled him to remember something else he forgot.
He remembered Jesus’ divine conjunction BUT.
But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.
I thought my apostle crush would be John, but no, it is Peter. Precious Peter.
Like him I forget God’s word. I forget Jesus says the rooster will crow.
Surely not I say. Certainly, Jesus, you jest.
Tamera, Tamera. Satan has asked to sift you like wheat.
In the midst of that horrible revelation I could forget. Have forgotten. But like my brother Peter, the Holy Spirit comes to me and reminds me of God’s truth.
The Spirit reminds me that Jesus stated very clearly, but I have prayed for you, Tamera.
Jesus has prayed for me. That my faith would not fail. That I would turn back. And then I would strengthen my sisters.
Friends, perhaps you have forgotten. Forgotten the Word. Forgotten the warnings. Maybe you feel like you are being sifted like wheat. You could be frustrated with yourself because you study and pray, and study and pray some more but you just can’t seem to remember or internalize.
Today, I want you to remember: Jesus has prayed for you. He has prayed for your faith not to fail. He has prayed for you to turn back. And then when you do he has given you a mission: strengthen those around you.
Don’t panic if or when the rooster crows.
I would prefer to not EVER hear the rooster, but let’s be honest here. We are frail and fragile humans.
The rooster will crow.
The Holy Spirit will remind and counsel.
The question is will we be like Peter and remember and believe what Jesus said?