Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Devotional by: Jin Young Choi, PhD
Lent is a time of denial, but it is also a time to remember our denial, forgetfulness, and fragility. Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him three times before the cock crows twice. Peter responds fiercely, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you” (v. 31).
Jesus’ words are fulfilled that very night. Just when Peter denies Jesus for the third time, the cock crowed for the second time. Some reliable manuscripts lack “then cock crowed” (v. 68), referring to the rooster’s first crow. If Peter heard it crow for the first time, would he have been so alarmed that he doesn’t deny Jesus? Do we hear the cock’s first crow? Why do we hear the alarming sound only after we have failed?
So, Peter breaks down and weeps. Following this episode, Peter ‘disappears’ for most of Mark’s gospel. Peter’s complete absence until the original ending of Mark’s story is striking. The grave error of his denial made him begin to cry. He is mourning and weeping with others until Mary Magdalene goes to the disciples to announce that Jesus is alive (16:10).
This Lenten Season is an invitation to slow down and breathe in our frailty and mortality. As we have lost our loved ones and our control over everyday lives, we may feel lost in the meaning of life. Peter withdrew, mourned, and wept. This time of absence and silence is a part of our life and faith journey. The good news will be Christ’s resurrection, but at this moment, comfort comes from Jesus, who sympathizes with our weakness and weeps with us (Hebrews 4:15; John 11:33-35).
For reflection: Are there moments (past) when we might have been more attentive or present? What invitation(s) to be attentive and present occupy this moment?
Jin Young Choi, PhD serves as Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins and Baptist Missionary Training School Professorial Chair in Biblical Studies at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS).