While Peter was in the courtyard below, one of the high priest’s servants came. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus.”But he denied it: “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about!” Then he went out to the entryway, and a rooster crowed. When the servant saw him again she began to tell those standing nearby, “This man is one of them!” But again he denied it. After a little while those standing there said to Peter again, “You certainly are one of them, since you’re also a Galilean!” Then he started to curse and to swear with an oath, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” Immediately a rooster crowed a second time, and Peter remembered when Jesus had spoken the word to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” When he thought about it, he began to weep.
It was a cold night, cold enough for a fire. I can hear the wood popping and crackling and men and women rubbing their hands together. I see Peter staring morosely into the flames, his thoughts jumbled and terror filling his heart. His anguished thoughts are arrested by the accusations of a servant woman, and Peter instinctively protects himself with quick denials. Once started down the path of denial, he entrenches by spewing curses and oaths.
But oh the sound of the rooster. Peter freezes. He remembers Jesus' words. He remembers Jesus. He remembers Jesus' love and the tears come. Peter's sorrow is gripping, and I wonder what the accusatory servant thought as she witnessed this man weeping. Did she feel pity or did she continue with her mocking?
This night began in gentleness in a quiet room. Dinner shared among the closest of friends. A night ending in terror and abuse. Confusion. Doubt. Nothing is certain. Peter has betrayed the one he loves most and his world has come apart.