After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you." Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, "I do not know the Man." And immediately the rooster crowed. Matthew 26:73-74
Jessie Donadio was a 36-year-old woman who hailed from Boston.
It was there she became the victim of amnesia. Without knowing who she was and how she could get home, Donadio wandered aimlessly for three months. She eventually got as far as Cleveland, Ohio.
That wandering might have gone on indefinitely if it had not been for the fact Donadio was caught in a severe thunderstorm. For some reason, the thunder, lightning and rain jogged her memory, and she was suddenly able to recall who she was and from where she had come.
On the night Jesus was betrayed Peter seems to have been afflicted with a similar loss of memory. At one moment he defended the Savior with his sword and a short time later he was denying he had any knowledge of the Christ.
Was Peter the victim of amnesia? Had he suddenly lost the ability to recall all the things Jesus had done for him? Had he forgotten how Jesus had called him with a miraculous draft of fish; or how Jesus had healed his mother-in-law, or how Jesus had pulled him out of the Sea of Galilee?
No, it was none of those things which caused Peter to deny Jesus. His threefold denial of the Redeemer is a matter of expediency and self-preservation. Peter didn't want to suffer the same fate as Jesus. His self-willed amnesia was broken up not by a thunderstorm, but by the crowing of a rooster and a look from Jesus.
Sadly, many people, even some Christians, seem to be forgetful when it comes to their relationship with Jesus. Although they might make Christian claims, their lives are lived as if they had completely forgotten what Jesus did for them. They cannot recall how He was born to save them, how Jesus rejected Satan's temptations and lived a perfect life. They don't remember the Calvary cross or the empty tomb.
So, should we hope that these folk hear a rooster's crow to miraculously help them remember? Should we ask the Lord to jolt them out of their "amnesia" with a sudden spectacular thunderstorm?
Far better for these folks to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Far better they acknowledge the Lamb of God who has taken away the world's sins ... and their transgressions.
By God's grace may they forget Peter's saying, "I don't know the Man" and remember to replace it with "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner."
To that end we pray:
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me always remember who I am and who You are. Send Your Holy Spirit, so I may acknowledge You as my Friend, my Ally, my Redeemer. This I ask in Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries