When a Rooster Trumps a Raven

I wonder if that sound affected him for the rest of his life. A cock’s crow.

It’s the sound he would have heard, taken for granted even, for hundreds of mornings before that one.

As a boy, the roosters throughout his village would have greeted countless morning stars with their alarms. He may have been an eager riser, rushing from his pallet to fetch water for the household and to beg a day off from chores and Hebrew school to work the boats with his father.

Or perhaps he clung to sleep, hiding his head beneath his straw-filled pillow against the rooster’s cry until his brother nudged him from their shared mattress and dared race him to the table where their mother’s breakfast was waiting, she having risen long before the cry of the fowl.

Now, with a household of his own, surely when he was home from the sea, he would have wakened from the chill of the bed missing his wife’s warmth as she went about her morning duties, rousing their own sons to be about their chores.

Perhaps he was wont to linger there until the crowing marked the official rising of the sun and he could no longer avoid the demands of a fisherman’s day where there were nets to mend and boats to sand and skies to be watched for good omen.

All that seemed like some other man’s life by the time the cock crowed for him.

One day his brother ran to him, breathless with the news that he had found the long-awaited Messiah, the coming King, their salvation from Jehovah God.

The prophecies were given flesh, had touched his hand, slept in the bow of his boat, eaten his fish over a fire on the beach, healed his wife’s mother, walked on water and changed everything in his once predictable world by the fickle sea. And now, even the sound of a rooster in the yard meant something new.

Those Roman dogs, the iron-clad oppressors of his people, had taken the man he loved more now than a brother, the man for whom he would sail a thousand oceans and die a thousand deaths.

But on the night he was arrested, Peter learned the betrayer was one of them, one as close to the Messiah as he, one who now believed that Jesus was only a man, a sad disappointment, valuable only as a pawn in the Zealots’ game to stir up the rabble and bring down the power of Rome.

So in the bitter dark and cold of night, the fisherman was plagued by doubt.

The lives of his wife and sons suddenly so vulnerable and fragile when he imagined them thrown into a dank prison or hung upon one of their wretched splintered crosses.

And so he had faltered, stumbled in the darkened night and when the strangers in the courtyard of the prison where God’s son was being held pressed in on him, he cried out his denial and refused to acknowledge Jesus as his friend, his Savior, the long-awaited Messiah.

In fact, Peter cried, I do not know the man! Let me be. Leave me alone!

And the cock crowed. And it was done just as Jesus had said.

Denied.

Had it ended there, Peter may have found himself, like a character in poem by Poe, haunted to death by the sound of a rooster’s cry. But this was not to be their end.

For his friend, His Messiah, defeated the power of Rome and powers deeper still.

He lived again to greet Peter on another beach and share, once more, a breakfast of fish over fire. And perhaps when the rooster crowed, they exchanged a long look between them.

Peter was now His Rock, the stone on which He would build His church.

But in the moment of their glance Peter would remember his love for Jesus and the heat and shame of his betrayal would carry through the air like the sharp, disturbing cry of the cock on a cold, cold morn.

With his eyes, he would have said, “Lord, I am a sinful man. Lord, I am so, so sorry to have denied you in the very hour of your greatest need. Lord, I am not worthy of your love.”

I think that in the eyes of Jesus, though, as Peter relived that moment, acknowledged the full measure of his crime and sought forgiveness – in that moment, held in the glance of Jesus, the rooster’s crow became transformed.

As Peter found in Jesus’ eyes forgiveness and healing and no hint of condemnation, as Peter saw in Jesus’ eyes the restoration of their brotherhood, their friendship, their love, as Peter felt his heart rise with the sun, the cock’s crow was no longer the sound of Peter’s failure but once again it became the simple morning cry of the cock announcing the arrival of the morning star.

 

The sound of the rooster at dawn would forever be the sound of Peter’s world restored and yet made new in the time it takes a crowing fowl to announce his presence to the newborn day.

 

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

What is the sound that marks your failure? What is the sound in your world that needs to be transformed by His forgiveness? He offers it to you. Will you receive it before the next cock’s crow?

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4 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. John Minton says:

    Wow!!! ?

  2. What a fantastic journey into Peter’s mind! I just had to sit back in my seat and think on it when I finished. Beautifully done, Lori, and thank you so much for sharing it. I’m sure I’m not the only one so blessed by these words.

  3. Amazing! I have no other words!

  4. […] My friend, Lori Roeleveld wrote a beautiful piece about Peter and Jesus. If you want more, click here: https://loriroeleveld.com/blog/when-a-rooster-trumps-a-raven/. […]