Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 8, 1970
NUMBER 35, PAGE 6b-7

Immediately The Cock Crew

Jim Beech

Peter said to Jesus

'I will lay down my life for you.' Jesus answered, 'Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, Truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times' " (John 13:38 RSV).

Peter offered what Jesus commands that we all give — the laying down of our life. Many would die for Christ but how many will lay down their whole life for him? How many will present their bodies as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1)? How many, when they have done all that is commanded, will say, "We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty" (Luke 17: 10)? How many will give their life to the master???

But what was thought provoking to me in the text verse was the fact that the cock crew immediately. I can't help but wonder if we all would be better off if God "blew the whistle on us" immediately. He once did!

The Book abounds with examples of people being "caught in the act" so to speak, starting with Adam and Eve, "Where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9). Their son, Cain, also, "Where is Abel thy brother?" (Genesis 4:9). We could go on and on.

There are some striking examples of the cock crowing immediately which teach important lessons that I would like to call to your attention at this time.

Aaron, the High Priest's sons,

"Nadab and Abihu, . . . took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord" (Leviticus 10:1-3).

The cock crew, the whistle was blown, because they did that which the Lord had not commanded them to do. Thus "will worship" (Colossians 2:23) is shown to be condemned. "To obey is better than sacrifice" (I Samuel 15:22). Theirs was the sin of presuming that something apparently good would be approved by God!

On a certain occasion David and some chosen men were moving the ark of God on a cart. The oxen drawing the cart stumbled. Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark. God smote him! Read the account in 2 Samuel and I Chronicles 13. The difference between this incident and the one involving Nadab and Abihu is that Israel, including Uzzah, had been commanded explicitly not to touch the ark of God. Uzzah thought that something that was specifically wrong, wrong at all times, would be right in an emergency. There are emergency procedures given in the Scriptures but a thing that is condemned by God is wrong — ANYTIME!!! Good lesson huh?

Now we come to the case of Peter. He thought he could disagree with the Lord and win his case. He found out that when the Lord lays it down there it is. The result of his saying one thing and the Lord saying another??? "And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly" (Matthew 26:75). Care to argue with God?

One thing! Today the cock will not crow immediately. Rather, when we appear before God we will then give an account for a whole lifetime of arguing with the Lord. The game of sin is a losing game. Consider that thought in these verses:

"He that rejecteth me, (Jesus) and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48).

"Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. . ." (2 Corinthians 5:9-11a).

.. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works" (Revelation 20:12).

"The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31.)

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