The Denial of St. Peter, Caravaggio, c. 1610, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Notice the pointing fingers: the soldier’s one + the maid servant’s two.
Peter denies Christ three times. Notice the positioning of Peter’s hands and
the two fingers pointing towards his heart. Caravaggio’s work heralded as “a marvel of narrative.”
When the rooster crows.
Peter, You’re going to pretend you don’t know me. Not just once, but three times.
It is hard to imagine the moment when Jesus’s words became Peter’s truth.
The moment when the rooster crowed.
The very sound of that crow piercing Peter’s soul.
This was the Peter who walked on water.
This was the Peter who fiercely, and perhaps foolishly, defended Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
This was the Peter who pledged undying love and allegiance to the man he called Jesus.
Carl Bloch, Peter’s Denial, Brigham Young University Museum of Art.
Notice the shame captured so vividly.
The turned face. The lowered glance.
Notice the pointing finger, once again.
And, as you continue to look, notice Jesus in the background.
Ah, my heart bleeds on so many levels here.
Peter reminds me of my humanness.
Thankfully, Peter’s denial isn’t the end of his story. It is merely the crisis point.
As we move through Peter’s story, we see the extravagant love of God once again, as Peter finds his way back to Jesus.
Back to his true call to be a fisher of men.
We all make grave errors in judgement.
We all deny Jesus in some way.
Carl Bloch, Peter’s Remorse, c. 1882
Oh, the pain that seeps through this sketch. Notice how the palm of Peter’s hand
cups his forehead, denoting anguish and quite possibly, disgust with himself?
The lowered head, once again.
And, those roosters. Only two.
Perhaps the third denial hasn’t occurred as of yet.
What do you see? What do you feel?
Peter reminds me to face my shortcomings and learn from my mistakes.
I know I have denied Christ. I deny him every time my selfish side chooses its own way.
And, it is safe to say, I will choose Self again. I am human.
Yet, my hope is to learn from my mistakes.
My hope is to wake up every morning with Self kneeling at the feet of Jesus.
Today, I learn from Peter.
God is still writing my story, too.
Isn’t that really good news?