Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. Luke 22:60-62 (NIV)

This has been the week of Sarah Palin. Her book, Going Rogue, hit the bookstores and the media has gone crazy. Whether you love her or hate her, you have to admire the grit and determination she shows under this intense scrutiny. She has been fearless in her opinions, humble when wrong, a mother cub in defense of her children, and charming to the end. Sarah and Peter have a lot in common.

While reading through the New Testament this fall, I noticed that Peter is present at all the important moments with Jesus, either the go-to-guy or the one taking the fall. He, too, was fearless, rash, passionate, and charming; he never did things half way. Who went over the side of the boat and walked on water? Who wanted to take all his clothes off and be washed rather than just his feet? Who predicted that he would never deny the Lord? Never!

Yet, as we take a peek into the courtyard of the high priest where the soldiers took the captured Jesus, we find Peter standing around the fire with the other guys. Somehow, he had managed to slip in unnoticed to see what was going on. But this time, he blew it. Afraid and unwilling to stand up for his Master, he denied being a follower and even knowing Jesus. Then the cock crowed and he looked across the courtyard into the eyes of Jesus.

During my childhood and youth, my family attended a huge church in Los Angeles in the days before anyone ever heard of a mega-church. Even though my dad may have been sitting across the auditorium and down a floor, I could see “the look” if he caught me whispering to my friend during the service. He didn’t have to say a word. Instantly, I knew that I was in for it and better be quiet. I imagine Peter felt the same way. Caught! And, by the One he loved with all of his heart. No wonder he left broken hearted.

Been there? This story doesn’t end in disgrace but in forgiveness. Check back for part two.