Jesus answered, "I tell you Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."
Sitting before all of your closest friends, people you consider more special than even your family, and your solemn leader, the go to guy, the big dog, the top cheese, the BMOC, turns to you and says that you are a traitor- that you are going to disrespect him and the rest of the group. I cannot even imagine how that would feel!
Peter, I'm sure, was just as shocked as anyone could be for he just finished telling Jesus that he would go to prison for him if he needed to do so. So with Peter all riled up, ready to fight for Jesus and filled with fire and passion in his heart and mind, Jesus throws this wet blanket over him. Why?
Was it because Peter was a little too zealous for Jesus? Or, maybe, Jesus could see through Peter's little "show", knowing in fact, that Peter wasn't that committed to the cause at that time. I may never know the answer to that, but I do know how the story ends for Peter.
"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Luke 22:31-32
Here, once again, is the overpowering grace and mercy of Jesus being displayed for all of us to see. Even though Jesus knows, and even tells Peter, that he will betray him, Jesus still prays for him and knows that he will come back to the family in the end! Sometimes it takes a little trauma, turmoil or some type of devastation to re-open the eyes of the heart to see Jesus, again. Just as Jesus says here, He is praying for us with a full knowing that if we should stray from the path, we are welcomed back- AND- are expected to use those new lessons to help strengthen the faith of those around us.
Once a member of the family of Jesus, always a member, if we are willing to open our hearts and let Him in. I pray today for those who have fallen away, much like I have in the past, in that they may be touch by the Holy Spirit today in some miraculous way, to bring them back into the family of Jesus Christ.