He was the first to tell Jesus that come what may, he would be there for Jesus when trouble came, and he was. Peter was in the courtyard while Jesus was being abused by the religious leaders on that fateful Thursday night, but it all became too much for Peter. By the time the cock crowed early the next morning, although Peter was still there, he had actually denied he knew Jesus - three times he did this- just as Jesus had predicted. So what was Jesus' reaction when the rooster crowed? He looked at Peter with what I imagine was total love, and Peter was devastated. I believe there was only Jesus and Peter at that moment, pure love from Jesus, not condemnation as one would expect, but pure love which cut through any bravado which Peter might have been feeling; a love which Peter later experienced when he and some disciples had breakfast with the risen Jesus, on the beach.
Following that early morning meal on the beach, after a fruitless night of fishing ( till Jesus came and told those disciples where to cast their nets), once again, Jesus did not have a go at Peter and interestingly enough, we don't have a record of Peter apologising for denying Jesus. Maybe the air was a bit tense with Peter waiting for Jesus to have something to say, but once again, Jesus showed his love and forgiveness towards Peter, by commissioning Peter for his mission which would shortly come about. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he would continue Jesus' mission and three times Peter said 'yes' - did Jesus' three questions to Peter show that Jesus had forgiven Peter for denying him three times ? I like to think so.
I find Jesus' interaction with Peter so refreshing and interesting in that there was no stereotype process of love and forgiveness. Peter was starting to understand that Jesus did things Jesus' way and that was not always easy to accept - just look at Peter's reaction to the vision where he was told to eat forbidden food for a Jew. Peter had to learn that Jesus came for all people and not just the Jews.
William Cowper understood this in 1773 when he wrote the hymn 'God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform'. God cannot be contained or limited by our human thoughts and actions, so like Peter, we need to learn to expect the unexpected.