When Peter swore he’d go with Jesus both to prison and to death, in His great mercy, Jesus told Peter ahead of time how weak he’d be when faced with the truth of his fleshly bravado. Jesus shared with Peter how he’d deny Him three times that very night.
As history played out, Jesus was captured, taken before the religious leaders who sought His death. Peter followed but stayed hidden in the crowds. As foretold, Peter did indeed deny he knew Jesus. After the third time he spoke this denial, “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ So Peter went out and wept bitterly” (Luk 22:61-62)
My idea of what love looks like gets tipped upside down when I know the rest of the story. Jesus looked at this man, disciple, and friend knowing He was going to be put to death for him and all of humanity. Jesus never exposed Peter to the accusing crowd. He only looked at him.
In his shame, Peter went about trying to live his life before Jesus had come, but the results were dismal. Again in His great mercy, Jesus came to Peter after His resurrection, with love and compassion, “restoring” Peter. For the remainder of his natural life, Peter declared he knew Jesus to all. He went to his death as a martyr assured of how much he was loved by Jesus and he himself would be resurrected.
When I think of what love looks like, my eyes are focused upon the eyes of Jesus looking at me. I don’t fool myself for a minute that I am any better than those who walked in the presence of Jesus. I know my great need for grace and the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood upon the cross to restore and redeem me.