Scripture: Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had
said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will
deny me three times.” Luke 22:61b, NIV.
(See also Mt. 26:69-75; Mk. 66, 72; Luke 22:54-62; John
I’m hunting for chickens - you know, that staple of Sunday dinner, and sustainer
of preachers. You come, too! Grab your Bible, and here we go.
As with any hunt, we need to equip ourselves with a
description of what we are looking for. Chickens are of the family of birds,
so we will look for that word in the Biblical references. Another possibility
is ‘fowl.’ The male is called a rooster, or cock, the
female is called a hen, and the young are chicks. We might also
look for eggs.
According to Genesis 1:20-23, God created the winged
birds on the fifth day of creation, each according to their kind, which would
Humankind has been given dominion over the birds of
the air, one of the conditions of creation (Gen. 1:26; Psalm 8) and birds
were carried on the Ark (Genesis 9:1-5) Birds were included in the list
of “every moving thing that lives” given to Noah as acceptable food, with
the prohibition concerning blood. (See also Daniel 2:37, 38; Deuteronomy
Chickens surely would be on the list of domesticated
animals, as noted by James (3:7-10) capable of being tamed, unlike the untamable
Ahah! The “strutting rooster”
is noted in Proverbs with the lion, the he-goat, and the king as examples
that are “stately in their stride,” and “does not turn back before any.”
(3:29-31) While the reference to rising up “to the sound of a bird” in Ecclesiastes
12:4 does not specifically mention a rooster, what other bird would have
the audacity to waken people in such a scene as described there?
The rooster’s counterpart, the hen, is used as an example
of protection and comfort by Jesus. Both Matthew (23:37) and Luke (13:34)
record His lament over Jerusalem, desiring to gather them “ as a hen gathers her brood (chicks) under her wing.”
The rooster is noted for his role as the announcer
of the dawn, the ‘Awakener.” It is in this role that we find the rooster
as a participant in one of the most chilling passages in the Bible. While
Jesus was on “trial” in the house of the High Priest, Peter shivered in the
cold courtyard. Once, twice, three times Peter is asked if he was with Jesus.
Once, twice, three times Peter denies that he knows Him. And the cock
(rooster) crowed, just as Jesus had predicted. (Mt. 26:34; Mk. 14:30)
While all four gospels tell of Peter’s denials,
Luke also records that when the cock crowed, Jesus turned and looked at
And Peter “went out and wept bitterly.”
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