And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.…
I. First, LET US LOOK AT THE LORD, WHO LOOKED UPON PETER.
1. I see in that look, first, that which makes me exclaim — What thoughtful love! Jesus is bound, He is accused, He has just been smitten on the face, but His thought is of wandering Peter. He looked to others, but He never looked to Himself. I see, then, in our Lord's looking upon Peter, a wondrously thoughtful love.
2. I exclaim next, what a boundless condescension! He had acted most shamefully and cruelly, and yet the Master's eye sought him out in boundless pity!
3. But then, again, What tender wisdom do I see here! "The Lord turned, and looked upon Peter." He knew best what to do; He did not speak to him, but looked upon him.
4. As I think of that look again, I am compelled to cry out, "What Divine power is here! This lock worked wonders. I sometimes preach with all my soul to Peter, and, alas! he likes my sermon and forgets it. I have known Peter read a good book full of most powerful pleading, and when he has read it through, he has shut it up and gone to sleep. I remember my Peter when he lost his wife, and one would have thought it would have touched him, and it did, with some natural feeling; yet he did not return to the Lord, whom he had forsaken, but continued in his backsliding. See, then, how our Lord can do with a look what we cannot do with a sermon, what the most powerful writer cannot do with hundreds of pages, and what affliction cannot do with even its heaviest stroke.
II. LET US LOOK INTO THE LOOK WHICH THE LORD GIVE TO PETER. Help us again, most gracious Spirit!
1. That look was, first of all, a marvellous refreshment to Peter's memory, "The Lord turned, and looked upon Peter." He saw the Man whom he loved as he had never seen Him before. This was He who called him, when he was fishing, to become a fisher of men; this was He who bade him spread the net, and caused him to take an incredible quantity of fishes, insomuch that the boat began to sink, and he cried out, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord"; this was He who had made him walk on the water, and at other times had rebuked the winds, and raised the dead. This was He with whom Peter had been upon the Mount of Transfiguration!
2. Next, that turning of the Master was a special reminder of His warning words. Jesus did not say it in words, but He did more than say it by His look. "Ah, Peter! did not I tell you it would be so?"
3. Surely it was, also, a moving appeal to Peter's heart.
4. What do you think that look chiefly said? My thought about it, as I turned it over, was this: When the Lord looked upon Peter, though He did refresh his memory, and make an appeal to his conscience, yet there was still more evidently a glorious manifestation of love. If I may be permitted humbly and reverently to read what was written on my Master's face, I think it was this — "And yet I love thee, Peter, I love thee still! Thou hast denied Me, but I look upon thee still as Mine. I cannot give thee up."
5. Again, this look penetrated Peter's inmost heart. It is not every look that we receive that goes very deep.
6. One fact may not escape our notice: our Lord's look at Peter was a revival of all Peter's looking unto Jesus. The Lord's look upon Peter took effect because Peter was looking to the Lord. Do you catch it? If the Lord had turned and looked on Peter, and Peter's back had been turned on the Lord, that look would not have reached Peter, nor affected him. The eyes met to produce the desired result.
7. This look was altogether between the Lord and Peter. Nobody knew that the Lord looked on Peter, except Peter and his Lord. That grace which saves a soul is not a noisy thing; neither is it visible to any but the receiver.
III. Now I must go to my third point: LET US LOOK AT PETER AFTER THE LORD HAD LOOKED AT HIM. What is Peter doing?
1. When the Lord looked on Peter the first thing Peter did was to feel awakened. Peter's mind bad been sleeping.
2. The next effect was, it took away all Peter's foolhardiness from him. Peter had made his way into the high priest's hall, but now he made his way out of it.
3. The look of Christ severed Peter from the crowd. He was no longer among the fellows around the fire. He had not another word to say to them; he quitted their company in haste. It is well for believers to feel that they are not of the world. Oh, that the arrows of the great Lord would this morning pierce some soul even as a huntsman wounds a stag! Oh, that the wounded soul, like Peter, would seek solitude! The stag seeks the thicket to bleed and die alone; but the Lord will come in secret to the wounded heart, and draw out the arrow.
4. That look of Christ also opened the sluices of Peter's heart; he went out, and wept bitterly. There was gall in the tears he wept, for they were the washings of his hitter sorrow.
5. Yet I want you to notice that that look of Christ gave him relief. It is a good thing to be able to weep. Those who cannot weep are the people that suffer most. A pent-up sorrow is a terrible sorrow.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.