Peter denied Jesus three times in a fashion that makes us cringe when we read the story. I am so thankful the story doesn't end there, but tells us that Jesus looked at Peter; and it was that look of love and forgiveness that broke the heart of Peter. He saw his awful sin and failure and just how far he had fallen, and "Peter went out and wept bitterly."
Can you imagine the shame during those next few hours as Peter watched Jesus be hung on a cross and buried in a tomb. I wish I could tell you that I have no idea what he went through, but I have denied my Savior so many times, and put Jesus back on that cross more times then I even want to admit. If we are honest, each of us have been there and hurt our Lord and Savior. We have had a Sabbath like Peter experienced of despair and shame; wishing it could have been different!
We have been there! "My Lord is gone, my hope is gone, and I denied my Lord. After that life of love, after that blessed fellowship of three years, I denied my Lord. God have mercy upon me!" Absolute Surrender page 53
I am not sure I can fully realize just how far Peter fell, but I have been there! The other side of this story is that this was the turning point in Peter's life. The next day on resurrection morning Peter received the news that the tomb was empty. That evening he met with the other disciples. Then by the sea Jesus asked Peter: "Do you love me?" Three times, Jesus reminded him that he had denied Him just as many times.
Even now, I am reminded how many times I have denied my Lord! The beauty is that it was at this time that Peter began his transformation. And Jesus promises that He will, and is transforming our lives so that we can say,
"Lord you know that I love you!"