And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. --- Luke 22:61
Peter and the Lord Jesus were friends. Good friends I think. They had spent a lot of time together over the past couple of years. Jesus liked Peter so much that the Lord gave him a nickname. Instead of Simon, Jesus called him "the Rock". (Did you ever think about the fact that 2 of the epistles are entitled with someone's nickname? I personally like 1 Peter better than 1 Simon.) Peter was in the inner circle of the disciples and got to see things, like the transfiguration, that only two other guys were invited to view. Peter was one of Jesus' buddies.
The verse above come on the tail of one of the most cowardly acts in all of Scripture. (This is not a judgement of Peter because I think that the spectre of suffering turns a lot of people into cowards.) Jesus is at the beginning of His journey to the cross to be tortured and to die. He is in a courtyard awaiting a mockery of a trial before a Jewish council of elders. Peter is there watching and warming himself by a fire, when people in the courtyard recognize him in the firelight.
And Peter simply denied knowing God when the pressure was on. When things started falling apart and Jesus opted to die instead of resisting, Peter's bold allegiance disappeared. People pointed out that Peter was with Jesus and Peter lied. He lied over the course of at least an hour. Peter's circumstance is made worse by the fact that he was defiant when Jesus predicted this verbal betrayal (Luke 22:33).
And following these lies about the Son of God, Jesus looks at Peter. At that moment, Jesus knew exactly what was going on in Peter's heart. I wonder what that moment was like? What did Jesus' expression say? Was it sad? Was it stern? Was it a look that said "I told you so, Peter"?
Or was it love?
Jesus was about to bear the sin that Peter had just committed in the most painful and dark fashion. He would do this so that Peter would not have to pay the just penalty for those lies. Peter's denial did not surprise Jesus at all. Instead, they were the very reason He was in that Courtyard in the first place.
And I am grateful for Peter's story. Because I am Peter.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. --- Romans 8:38-39