Peter's Rooster Final
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
My family and I used to live in Petaluma, California. Petaluma is still famous for a few things, one of them being...chickens. The first practical chicken incubator was invented by a Petaluma man. In fact they still have a “Butter and Eggs Day Parade” every Spring to celebrate this unique heritage, not only this but Petaluma is also known for having the world’s first chicken pharmacy. Needless to say, I’ve lived around some chickens.
I have had the experience of waking up to the sound of a local rooster. More than once. More than one rooster. And just to let you know, they don’t just crow to welcome the morning they can be inspired to crow at all times of the day.
Roosters are interesting animals. They strut around the farm. (Make rooster motions) Head held high, showing off their fancy feathers. They seem to think they’re the king of the barnyard or the ruler of the roost. As far as birds’ songs go, their crowing leaves much to be desired; but, boy, do they belt it out (er err errr). There’s really no mystery as to why roosters have come to symbolize arrogance or pride. These birds seem to think they’re all that and then some.
I find it interesting that there is a rooster in our reading for today. He was probably your typical rooster. Fine feathers. Strutting. Crowing. But this fowl was used in a special way. In our text for today, Peter is convicted by this particular barnyard bird.
Peter doesn’t seem like a guy that would need a rooster to convict him, but I see Peter as a rooster of sorts. Peter was a fisherman. Now that doesn’t sound like much but some scholars note that Peter actually had a fishing business. He was the managing partner of a fishing company with James and John. So, we could say Peter was an important guy as far as the Galilean fish market was concerned.
Peter was a man’s man. Tough and impulsive. In Matt 14:28 Peter wants to walk on water just like Jesus. Not only does he think he should be the one to do this, but it seems he thinks he is the one that can do it. And at the Transfiguration, Peter wants to set up shelters for Elijah, Moses and the Glorified Christ. Peter thinks he can entertain and host the King of Creation. When the chief priests’ thugs come and arrest Jesus in the dark of night, Peter acts impulsively again and has his sword ready, swinging and slicing off ears. Peter was sure that all the other disciples could fall away but not him. At least that is what he says in Matt 26: 22, “... I will never fall away.”
Peter…our proud rooster. Peter walked and talked with the Christ. Yet it appears that often he was depending on his own energy, his wits, his strength and his own power. Jesus told Peter that Satan had asked to, “...sift him like wheat...” It seems this rooster needed his feathers ruffled, his wings clipped,…(softly) his heart humbled.
At the Lord’s Supper, Jesus tells his disciples that one will betray him. Peter says, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will!”
And then Jesus says, “I tell you the truth,”…“this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
“Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you!”
Hours later after sleeping through prayers, and hacking off ears, he is hiding and running away…Peter is sneaking…crouching by the fire.
(Pointing finger accusingly) “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”
Peter replies, (Peter voice) “I do not know what you’re talking about!”
“This man was with Jesus of Nazareth!”
(Peter voice) “I don’t know that man!”
“Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away!”
(Peter voice) “I DO NOT KNOW THE MAN!” ER ER ERRRRRR!
At times my wife affectionately refers to me as Peter. I admit I can sometimes be a little sure of myself. I can be strong, quick on my feet. I’m experienced, (holding collar) college educated. I can hold my own.
My wife encourages me to be humble and try to seek the Lord’s direction. She appeals to me to rely on His power and not my own talent and energy. She believes that God has a plan to use me as a shepherd in the church. But I can end up, unintentionally, relying on my own strength to get me through things.
When I was called to go to the Seminary I thought, yah, I can do this. I’ll do this for you, Lord. I’ll quit my job. Uproot my family. Move to a new state. Go back to school. I’ve still got it in me.
But then came Greek classes, papers and exams.
(It has been a while since I’ve been in school)
I can do this; I’ll just join a study group. er er errrrrr
Then my father passed away and I had to keep up with my studies while flying back home and dealing with my grief.
I can do this; I’ll study on the plane. I’m a tough guy, I’ll deal with my grief later.
er er errrrrr
Even, I can write a sermon. I’ll just translate the Greek text and....ahhh, well, ummmm...? er er errrrrr!
I can’t do this on my own! I need You, Lord! Save me!
Maybe you’ve had similar experiences?
I’ll just avoid that obnoxious coworker! er er errrrrr
I can keep our marriage together! er er errrrrr
Or, I can witness to my brother....sister, neighbor. er er errrrrr
I can scrape together enough money to make ends meet. er er errrrrr
Or even, I can handle the chemotherapy! er er errrrrr
Lord, we can’t do this on our own! We need You, Lord! Save us!
But you know what? Our goose isn’t cooked. After these events in our text, in Matthew 27, Jesus dies! He takes all of our worries, trials, and denials to the cross! We can lay our pride and self-reliance right there at His feet. He is the redeemer who has come for you and I. And during this Lenten season we can reflect on all of the struggles we are choosing to handle on our own. Then we can take them to Him in prayer and lay them at the cross.
And what Peter didn’t realize, until later, but what we know now, is that...Easter is coming! This is a time in which we celebrate that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has conquered death! We can rely on Him! That bird can convict us all he wants, because Jesus Christ is ready and willing to heal us and lift up our humbled hearts.
Soon the rooster will signal a New Day…when Christ returns! Amen.