Have you ever gotten that look? You know, that look from someone close to you – whether it be a spouse or a boss or a parent or a teacher – after you've just done something really bad? I mean, you really blew it, and then they turn and look at you with a disappointed or even an angry expression – or worse, that resigned "I knew it" look in their eyes as they shake their head at you. Have you ever gotten that look? I have, and I've even wondered at times if God ever gives me that look too.
So how then shall we interpret the look that the Lord gave Peter in Luke, chapter 22? Peter had just blown it big-time! He had denied Jesus three times, finally deceitfully exclaiming that he doesn't know what people are talking about (Luke 22:60a) and even going so far as to curse and swear to make his point (Matthew 26:74). Then Luke writes, "Immediately, while he [Peter] was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, 'Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.' So Peter went out and wept bitterly" (Luke 22:60b-62).
Somehow, Jesus was able to see Peter, and it sounds likely that their eyes met for at least a brief moment before Peter rushed away in tears. What was the expression in Jesus' eyes? Was it "that look" we've received from others in our lives? I don't think so.
I think we can be reasonably certain that the look in Jesus's eyes wouldn't have been a harsh or condemning look, because the night before, not only did Jesus tell Peter it was going to happen (Luke 22:34), but He even sought to encourage Peter about it (Luke 22:31-32). He said, 31"Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." It's worth noting that the Greek word "you" in verse 31 is plural, but singular in verse 32. In other words, Satan wanted to cause trouble to all of Jesus' disciples, but Jesus singled out Peter (who was also named Simon) as the one He wanted to use to encourage and rally the others.
So even though Jesus knew Peter would fail Him, He still had high expectations for him. That's why I don't believe Jesus looked at Peter with surprise or even with disappointment or anger. I believe He looked at Peter with a loving and imploring gaze, probably even with a prayer in His heart for Peter, confident that he was going to repent and return to Him a new, and humbled, man.
I also think that Jesus looks at us the same way when we blow it. That's how big His love is for each of us. He knows we're going to make mistakes – sometimes big mistakes. And even though Jesus knows that Satan wants to mess with us, He doesn't necessarily pray that Satan will leave us alone. He prays instead, just as He did for Peter, that our faith won't fail. For even though sin and Satan will cause us to stumble, Jesus is certain that the plans and purposes He has for each of us – good works prepared long ago for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10) – are still going to be fulfilled for all who turn back to Him in humility.
So when you blow it, don't put your head down to avoid Jesus' gaze. Look up, and look for the expression in His eyes – for that loving look that will lead us to brokenhearted repentance and restoration. You will see His face as you read and study the Bible, God's Word, for Jesus is the Word of God in bodily form (John 1:14). And the look you discover in His Word will be one of love and understanding and encouragement to return to Him, confident that as you do, there will be a place for you in His heart and in His plans!
© 2016 by Ken Peters