Matthew 26 – In this chapter, we learn of Peter’s experience with desiring to defend Christ to the death but actually denying his association with him, three times in the one night (the night of Jesus’ trial by the Sanhedrin).
As and when we come to Christ, He shows us our weaknesses; He makes them apparent so we can see them, where otherwise they might be hidden to our perception. This seems to be what the Lord was doing here for Peter. If He hadn’t pointed out to Peter the significance of what he would do that night – or even that he would do it – the rooster might have crowed without Peter recognising what he’d just done. But the Lord, in His mercy, brought it to his attention before it happened, so that when the mentioned signal (the rooster crowing) occured, of a sudden that prophecy was brought to Peter’s mind.
The Lord was not unkind in pointing out to Peter that, despite his protestations, he would in fact deny Him. I am sure that He meant it as a teaching moment – which it obviously became for Peter. The apostle had great desire, but needed to grow in his faith and fortitude. The Lord would have known that those few words, plus the situation, would be enough; Peter’s conscience and understanding would do the rest.
Peter’s experience that night was painful, even harrowing – “he wept bitterly” (v 75). It’s painful also for us when we are shown our weaknesses. We feel terrible, discouraged and perhaps ashamed of ourselves in those moments. But our weaknesses have been made evident for a reason: so that we may begin to learn a better way. If we weren’t shown them, we couldn’t overcome them. It’s the only way – the only, painful, little-piece-by-little-piece, way.