But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22.60-62)

There are only a handful of incidents from the life of Jesus recorded in all four gospels. The few we have are significant. That’s certainly the case with Peter’s three-fold denial of Jesus.

Jesus had warned Peter of it (Luke 22. 31-32). Peter, a chronic victim of “foot-in-mouth disease” denied that he would deny Jesus (v. 33). Then reality set in as Peter followed Jesus’ movements after his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. Three times, Peter denied Jesus. Three times a rooster crowed. At the moment of the third denial, Peter and Jesus were in a position to see each other (v. 61). 

Who knows what passed between them? Jesus’ friends had betrayed, denied, and abandoned him. In his eyes must have been heartache, disappointment, and immeasurable burden. Peter had thought himself beyond temptation. In his eyes must have been regret, despair, and self-loathing. 

Only Luke records the gaze between Peter and Jesus. Of the disciples, only Peter and John were present (John 18.15). Since Luke claims to record eyewitness information (Luke 1.1-4), Peter was apparently Luke’s source. Years after the fact, Peter still remembered. 

The real tragedy of Peter’s sin was that it was preventable. Of course, the real tragedy of our own sins is that they too are preventable. 

Just as Jesus warned Peter (v. 31-34), he warns us (1 Corinthians 10.12). Just as Peter had a way out (Luke 22.31-32, 40, 46), we too have a way out (1 Corinthians 10.13). Just as Jesus assured Peter of repentance and recovery (Luke 22.32), he assures us of the same (1 John 4.4; 5.4-5). 

If Peter’s eyes said, “What have I done,” Jesus’ eyes must have said, “What will you do?” When we fall and fail, that’s always the question.