Luke 22:61&62 , 61: “At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” 62: “And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly. “
We all have words or sounds, that are triggers that bring us back to places from our past. Some of them are great memories and others are not. Those words are often tied to the emotions that we experienced with them. Some may even have both great and bitter memories attached simultaneously. They can bring us back to times when we have failed, or the things that we just want to erase from our past. They can be some of the most defining moments in our life. What are we to do with them is the question, how are we to look and react today when they resurface?
Before I became a Christian, I spent many Friday nights at the club with my friends, drinking and dancing. I have always loved to dance, and enjoyed music that brought that desire to life. I have many great memories made with friends from those nights at the bar dancing. Those times were also a time in my life that I was making some not so good choices in life. I was spending money on things that I should not have, I was not respecting my body, in the ways that I dressed, my consumption of alcohol and the language that I was using was not Godly. So all though there are many great memories, it is also a time that I wish I had been wiser and holds many memories that I wish were never created. Naturally, we had some songs that were a given for all of us go dance to. Today when I hear those songs I am often brought back to those moments. Some of which are among the most embarrassing and shameful things that I did. They are also great reminders of how far I have come in my growth with Jesus, how much I have changed.
The above scripture tells us of a trigger that Peter would have in his life. Peter lived in a time when roasters would have been everywhere. The crowing of a rooster would be a regular event in his life. (roosters crow all times of the day, not just in the morning) That means that as Peter was going out and preaching the gospel, often there would be roosters crowing. Peter could have heard the crowing and suddenly be reminded of the time he had denied Jesus, transported back to “weeping bitterly” and full of shame. It could have caused him to stop doing what he was called to do. He could have seen it as an event that disqualified him from preaching. A defining moment that left Peter sitting in shame and remorse. Yet he did not allow this to happen. Why?
I am inclined to believe that the crowing also took him back to the encounter he had after Jesus resurrection. When Jesus had a one on one conversation with him and instructed him to feed his sheep. (John 21:17) It likely reminded Peter of the grace and forgiveness that Jesus had given him. The trigger of the rooster, showed and helped him to recall how he was no longer the same person who denied Jesus but was now standing firm and preaching the good news of Jesus. Instead of letting the crowing be the defining moment of his life, he made it be God’s grace and mercy.
When you have those triggers pop up in your life, the ones that crow and the enemy tries to use, to remind you of your old self. The ones that bring can trigger shame and guilt, use them to remind you of how far you have come. To reflect on the grace, mercy and love that Father God has given to you, and to spur you on to spread the gospel.