Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. (verses 33-35)
What a poignant sighting. We know what’s coming. Peter, confronted by a little servant girl, will decisively deny ever knowing Jesus. And then he’ll do the same, twice more. It’s a painful future encounter, and the pain bleeds backward into this moment of bravado.
The thing that strikes me here so powerfully is that the Lord knew. Right in that moment, face to face with Peter, the Lord knew. He knew the fear and desperation and faithlessness that would grip Peter by the fire, and that would continue to control him, spilling from one act of disloyalty into the next. The Lord knew, and yet he didn’t shame Peter into acting differently, nor did he reprimand him in advance, nor did he disown him. He just simply stated what was going to happen.
Indeed it’s not simply that he has knowledge about Peter. He knows that each and every one of the disciples will also fall way. And it’s not just a realization that came to him in that moment. No. The Lord knew hundreds of years in advance when, by the Spirit, prophetic insight was given to Zechariah to announce:
“I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered” (verse 31, quoting Zechariah 13:7).
Indeed, it goes back much further. The Lord knew from all eternity.
And yet knowing, he himself maintains faithfulness. And grace. More poignantly, such knowledge is what compelled him to come in the first place. He came as Saviour to those who, in their own strength, could only ever prove faithless and failing.
He came for me. He came for you.
Once Peter heard that cock crow and was wakened to his senses, the profound weight of guilt and shame descended upon him, and the realization would have dawned: the Lord knew.
And in that knowledge was the beginning of hope.
Lord Jesus, thank you that from all eternity you have known me. You have known my need. You have known your plan to provide salvation. You have known the cost. You have known the grace in which I now stand. You have known. Praise your name.
Reflect: Consider that for each moment of your life thus far, the Lord has known. The good and the bad. The obedience and the disobedience. The faith and the faithlessness. Put it all into his hands again. Thank him for his grace.