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I grew up on a farm. We raised chickens, among other things. We always had a rooster. At day-break, that old rooster would begin to crow; we could hear him a long ways off. The rooster is one of the symbols of Lent. Jesus had told Simon Peter beforehand that he would deny him three times before the "cock crows." In Roman times, "cock's crow" represented a specific time of the day, perhaps daybreak. At that time, a bugle would sound, signaling the dawning of a new day."

"You will deny me three times ..." Peter was puffed up with pride, "The other disciples might well deny You -- but I will never deny You." Peter was relying on his own human strength to overcome Satan's temptations. But Peter was no match for Satan's power and persuasion. Also, Peter did not really believe Jesus' words. He should have known that whatever Jesus said would come true. Jesus always spoke the truth.

Here's how the story unfolds. Following the Last Supper, Jesus and the disciples go to the Garden of Gethsemane. There Jesus prays while the disciples sleep. The Temple Police storm into the Garden to arrest Jesus; Jesus offers no resistance; Peter, on the other hand, grabs a sword and cuts off a servant's ear. Jesus rebukes Peter. Jesus is taken before Caiaphas the High Priest. Peter follows at a distance. Gathered around a bonfire, soldiers, servants, others and Peter, try to keep warm. Peter is noticed, pointed out and three times denies that he knows Jesus -- then the cock crows! Jesus appears, looks at Peter with disappointment -- and Peter runs out into the darkness and weeps.

We are too much like Simon Peter. We, too, deny Jesus, not in huge dramatic ways but in those everyday moments of our lives.

• We were talking; and the moment I said it, I knew I had hurt her. Why did I say that? And I heard a rooster crow.

• I had bought groceries and gone back to the car. I noticed that the clerk had given me $5 too much. It was cold and drizzly. I should have gone back and returned the $5 -- but I didn't. The cock crows.

• Some guys were bullying a younger student. I just went on by and never did anything to help. There goes that rooster again!

• I gleefully passed on some juicy gossip. I heard that rooster crow!

• They were using vulgar language. I never spoke up against it. There's that rooster again!

Like Peter, we find that there is no room to hide from our denial. Always, we must face our sins!

The good news is that Peter returned, stronger and better than before; this didn't happen immediately. It was only after Peter came face-to-face with the risen Christ that his life was dramatically changed. And he became a rock of faith. What happened to Peter can also happen to us.

Lord, have mercy on us sinners and restore us to Your honor and glory! Amen.

Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Religion on 04/04/2019

Print Headline: Beware, The Roosters Crow

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