IN the wonderful fourteenth chapter of John we find the account of Jesus comforting his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion with words glowing with love and tenderness. He bids them not to let their hearts be troubled and promises (John 14:16-18): "I will pray the Father,and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." And a little later he emphasizes the same thought: "These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things."
Later that same night Jesus prophesied that, because of the deep waters through which he must pass, his disciples would shortly fall away and leave him alone. Peter protested vehemently that he would never forsake his Master, but Jesus foretold that before the cock should crow Peter would deny him thrice. The prediction came true, and Matthew tells us that at the palace of the high priest, where Jesus had been brought captive, Peter was thrice accused of being one of the disciples, and thrice he denied it even with an oath. Then, hearing the cock crow, Peter "went out, and wept bitterly."
We can picture the impetuous disciple's grief at his desertion under the pressure of fear for his own safety and dismay at Jesus' arrest. His understanding of the Master's teaching was not strong enough to carry him triumphantly through such an ordeal, but his repentance for this faithless act was manifest in bitter tears, and soon the Master gave him the opportunity thrice to declare publicly his love for him. After the ascension, we are told, Peter and the other apostles continued "in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren" (Acts 1:14). And following this period of purification and consecration of thought, "when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:1,4). It was then that Peter with magnificent courage preached the gospel to the multitude, calling upon them to "repent, and be baptized ... in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 2:38) and promised that they too should receive "the gift of the Holy Ghost."