I’ve often identified with Peter, who denied the very man he said he would die for. I know the pain of being unfaithful to my dearest friend. I know the feeling of going from devotee to deserter, sometimes within minutes. It’s a strange sort of comfort, this solidarity with Peter. The failure itself doesn’t comfort me; it’s knowing the next part of the story. There’s joy in the end, because Christ doesn’t abandon Peter.
Of course, we have to skip ahead to know that, for Peter had no time to make peace with Jesus before his crucifixion. When Christ died, hope was lost for Peter, left alone with his guilt, not knowing the end, not knowing there would be a chance to reconcile with his truest friend.
Knowing the end is the only way to find joy in the story of Peter’s denial. Knowing that not even death — not even Christ’s death — could keep Peter from the love of God, who stands ready and willing to forgive.
Praise God, his heart is the same toward us today.