At that moment, for the second time, a cock crowed; and Peter remembered the words that Jesus had said to him – ‘Before a cock has crowed twice, you will disown me three times’; and, as he thought of it, he began to weep.
nature calls out time
there is no more
consequences will be reaped
every falsehood called
by the rape it is
Malbon, in Anderson40, sets the end of this section in a helpful comparison:
Jesus’ scene concludes with the guards taunting him to “Prophesy!” (v. 65). Peter’s scene concludes with his remembrance of Jesus’ prophecy of his denial (v. 72), an ominous echo of the earlier foreshadowing. It is sadly ironic that Peter’s noisy denial of his discipleship in order to save his life is narrated almost simultaneously with Jesus’ quiet affirmation of his messiahship, although it will lead to his death. The rhetorical juxtaposition of these scenes—characters, words, actions, setting—in the unfolding plot pushes the implied reader not only to judge the two contrasting characters but also to judge himself or herself.
If we follow this line, there is a self-judgment different from self-acquittal that comes when we remember our value system after excusing it for a time. At question is what would trigger our remembrance. One time-tested process is charting behavior with the intent to change our engagement with the world. From the “Holy Club” of the 18thcentury is noting every expenditure and evaluating whether we are comforting ourself or improving the life of another. When that tips over to spending more on ourself than the common good, we can hear a rooster crow to remind us of a camel being threaded and our denial of the poor we can always assist.
It is this sort of remembrance that will lead to Peter’s “break down” or “throwing of himself to the ground” or “beating upon himself”—all images of unclean spirits exiting. This remembrance is a beginning of a cleansing, changing process introduced as Jesus left the wilderness—change your ways; trust good news.
Peter has finally awoken from his Gethsemane sleep and the nightmare of impotence at Jesus’ arrest. We are back to the instruction for wakefulness when we sleep-walk through trying times when an abomination of desolation is installed where it ought not be.