After they shared the passover meal, Jesus and the disciples sang the traditional Hallel (Psalm 114-118) which talks of how God doesn't abandon Israel in times of trial. Then He tells His disciples that they will abandon Him. Peter reacts how I think I would react. He says that he would never abandon Jesus. And by doing that, Peter sets himself up for failure. I think we all know what happens in the moments before the cock crows.
I think it is easy to state your claim to something when you are not in the midst of trial. But when you are thrown into that trial, your real claims and values shine through. That is what happened to Peter. When the Lord was with him, Peter was confident that he would stay faithful. But when the Lord was no longer in his presence- when the Lord was being tried, accused and handed over to death, Peter failed. When Peter's faith was tested in a time of trial, he failed. Peter was a disciple who LOVED our Lord. And he made it known how much he loved Him. I can only imagine how horrible Peter must have felt. That failure must have struck his very core.
I remember when I went to confession for the first time after 10 years of general absence from God and church. And I was struggling to put my sin into words. I remember telling the priest that I felt like Peter. I had denied our Lord. I had abandoned Him. I had failed. In my youth, I proudly proclaimed my love for the Lord. But when things got complicated in my life, I abandoned Him. I tried to live life with out him. And I had failed. I needed Him back.
There is something that Peter and I have in common. The Lord came back. He rose from the grave and conquered all our failures. He gives us life that we do not deserve. He knows our failures and yet he still loves us- enough to die for us. That is an amazing love. It is a love I want to participate in for the rest of my life and, Lord willing, for eternity.