Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, That this night, before the cock crow, you shall deny me thrice.
Jesus knew Peter better than he knew himself. Any observant man would have told wherein lay peril for such an repulsive, hastily outspoken, warm-hearted man. Our Lord divinely "knew what was in man," and foresaw the coming danger. We are all keen enough at estimating the character of others, but we cannot do it with any certainty, because we can only make our experience of ourselves our standard of judgment. And oftentimes those who are most ready to judge others are the least efficient in appraising themselves, and so their standard is incomplete and unworthy. Divine knowledge is perfect. So the truehearted can say, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my ways."
I. SELF-KNOWLEDGE CAN NEVER BE GOT AT IMPULSIVELY. Impulse can only express a passing mood or feeling; and that may have its explanation in temporary circumstances and excitements. A man acting or speaking on impulse may act or speak in strict harmony with his real self. He may; but it is equally true that he may act or speak otherwise than he would if he could quietly resolve. Impulse is good, but it is perilous. Distinguish from the power of quick judgment and decision. Impulses tell the hour; they seldom tell the real man.
II. SELF-KNOWLEDGE CALLS FOR CAREFUL THOUGHT. We find great differences in characters. Some are easy to read, they belong to recognized classes. Some are very difficult to read; we must watch them a long time; their individuality is more marked than their classification. And men find similar variety in themselves. Some may read themselves easily. St. Peter might, if he had tried. Some never feel quite sure that they know themselves.
III. SELF-KNOWLEDGE IS ALWAYS SUBJECT TO DIVINE CORRECTIONS. The apostle thought he knew himself when he made his stout assertion. But he came into Divine correction. This is often given us by the discipline of disappointment and failure; and often by the providence which offers us work for which we could not have thought that we were fitted.
IV. DIVINE CORRECTIONS SHOULD LEAD TO A RE-READING OF OURSELVES IS THE NEW LIGHT. If we fail to do this, we shall have to go on with St. Peter, and learn to know ourselves through a bitter experience. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.