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, esv).
Have you ever heard a rooster crow?
Maybe you heard one once when you were staying out in the country, or even in the urban center of a developing nation. Or maybe you grew up on a farm and heard it countless times.
But what about in your heart? Have you ever heard the rooster crowing in your heart?
Perhaps you heard it most recently in a work or social setting. Something was said, and you knew you were being prompted to speak from a position of loyalty and fidelity toward Jesus. But you just sat there. Silent. Afraid of the consequences your allegiance to Him would bring.
Perhaps it was at a gathering of extended family members, where you chose peace and quiet instead of speaking up in defense of your relationship with Him. The risk of complicating the mood of the room, of disturbing the lighthearted laughter around the table, seemed greater in that moment than your commitment to Christ.
Peter heard the rooster crow—literally—after his third challenge of the night to take a stand as one of Jesus’ followers. Jesus had said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” To which Peter had answered, somewhat offended, surely indignant, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you” (Matthew 26:34–35)!
Yet immediately after his third denial—as though choreographed down to the millisecond—he heard it. The rooster crow. And with the prophetic words of Jesus now ringing in his ears from earlier in the day, “he went out and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75). He had swallowed his tongue, eaten his words, and failed to be true to his Lord.
Can’t you just see his bent form convulsing in sorrow at the shame and regret he felt? Why am I so weak? What’s wrong with me? Why could I not stand up for Him? How could I act like I didn’t even know Him?
We know this biblical event so well. But there are situations you know even better because you’ve seen them with your own eyes, places where you’ve heard the rooster crow with your own ears. In those moments, is your loyalty to Christ growing stronger? Is your pattern of fidelity increasing and becoming more consistent? Do people know—not just at church, but everywhere you go—that you love Him as your highest priority?
Jesus said, “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32–33). On the day when you stand before Him at judgment, you won’t be able to excuse yourself by claiming your faith was a personal, private matter that no one else had the right or the need to know about. Christianity is not a secret society. Something is wrong if people don’t know you serve Him.
But today is a new opportunity to raise your flag of loyalty to the top of the mast. Today is a fresh series of moments for choosing backbone over backing down, for choosing resolve over uncertainty and indecision.
Perhaps in the past you’ve frozen up when given an opening for confessing your faith in Christ. You’ve stumbled and fumbled and found a casual way to change the subject. But a hundred years from now, all that will matter to you is your life pattern of loyalty to Jesus Christ. And you’ll rejoice that whenever the rooster crowed, it wasn’t crowing for you.
Lord, thank You for Your grace. Thank You for Your mercy. Please give me the strength to never deny You, ever again. You’ve been faithful to unsettle me whenever I’ve been a spiritual coward, whenever I’ve given in to fear and self-protection instead of taking a stand. You have caused the rooster to crow in my heart, exposing the vast difference between Your loyalty to me and my loyalty to You. But I come to You today, asking by Your power and might that You would give me the courage to declare myself Yours at all times, in all places—every chance I get, everywhere I go. Seeing all You’ve done for me, how could I do anything less? I declare it as my intention, and I trust You to grow me into a courageous follower of Jesus, just like Peter became. I pray this in the worthy name of Jesus, amen.