“Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!’ ” (Matthew 26:34, 35).
Along with the bark of a dog or the meow of a cat, one of the most recognizable sounds on our planet is the crowing of a cockerel. Roosters start crowing usually before four months of age and are often perched over their territory when they characteristically stretch out their necks and belt out that cock-a-doodle-doo. It is a way to show their dominance and protection over hens.
Why do roosters crow in the morning? Anyone who owns a rooster will tell you that a rooster will crow just about any time of day. Some are quite vocal and may crow almost all day long, while others will sound off just a few times a day. Japanese researchers have recently discovered that roosters have a built-in clock that takes precedence over other stimuli and makes them more likely to crow before dawn. Even when they tried to trick the birds by putting them in a near-dark environment all day long, they still crowed at what would be the crack of dawn.
On the night of His betrayal, Jesus predicted that before the rooster crowed the next morning, Peter would deny Him three times. The gospel of Mark indicates more specifically that before the rooster crowed twice, Peter would deny Jesus three times. And that is just what happened. After being asked for the third time if he knew Christ, the Bible says, “Then he began to curse and swear, saying, ‘I do not know the Man!’ Immediately a rooster crowed” (Matthew 26:74).
More amazing than Jesus’ prediction is the Saviour’s compassion and forgiveness. Luke adds that at this moment, “The Lord turned and looked at Peter” (Luke 22:61). The boastful man was broken. Peter had nothing to crow about. When faced with his sin, he did what we should all do. “So, Peter went out and wept bitterly” (verse 62).
O Lord, I have denied You so many times. Forgive me. May I join Peter in weeping tears of true repentance.
For Further Study: Matt. 26:31–35; 69–75; Prov. 16:18; 2 Cor. 10:13