(Post by: Scott Hobbs)
Well, here we are; Good Friday. Arguably the second most important day of this Passion Week story. With, of course, the first being Resurrection Sunday.
Our whole faith is based on this thing; this cross thing. Jesus had to bleed, suffer, and die so that all of us could live. Eternally I mean. Without this Friday deal there is no payment for sin. No setting the balance sheet even.
God is so good, and as if this Friday cross thing wasn’t enough, He puts this little story of Peter right in the middle of it. What story of Peter? I’m glad you asked. This story of bravado, denial, and restoration.
Remember the order of this great drama. We have Jesus and the twelve celebrating the Passover on Thursday evening around sundown. Judas leaves the meal to complete his betrayal by telling the chief priests where they might take Jesus; away from the masses that He, Jesus, had so carefully kept close to thwart their evil plans until the Father’s perfect plan was completed.
But after they leave the upper room, and head to the Mount of Olives, Jesus tells them they will all fall away, or leave him, this very night. Peter boldly claims that, even if all others fall away, he will never fall away. Never leave his side no matter prison or death. But Jesus predicts Peter’s denial of even knowing Him three times before the rooster crows.
Can’t you just hear Peter’s thoughts? “How can this be Lord? I’m the toughest in this rag tag crew. A fisherman that has spent my life battling weather, heavy work, long hours. I’ve been with you through these last three plus years. I’ve stood firm, answered when others stayed silent, gone up on the mountain with you. I got out of the boat. Come on man; I’m all in.”
So how does Peter fall apart in the next few hours? Well, maybe he’s a lot like me. I’m sure you’re not in this club. But even after hearing this crazy exhortation from this man Peter himself rightly identifies as the Son of God, he forgets about it and gets lazy.
You see the next act in this Friday drama is in Gethsemane. Jesus takes his top 3 lieutenants and tells them to keep watch and pray while He goes off for His own time of prayer. But Peter and the others fall asleep. Not all that unexpected I guess. I mean after all, they have been here before. In this place, with Jesus, often to rest and sleep. It is a place they are used to.
But what about the warning from earlier? How quickly we forget and let down our guard when everything is as we are used to. Life as normal. How easily we are lulled into that sense of security in our little corner of the world. Then comes the attack.
In our Friday drama the attack comes by means of Judas and about 600 soldiers. Peter finds his courage, his bravado once again. But it is misplaced. He draws his blade and quickly takes off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Only to be rebuked by Jesus yet again for missing the point. This is what He has told them is coming; it’s all part of the plan.
As Jesus is taken away by this great cohort of soldiers, I wonder what Peter was thinking. In the heat of the moment I wonder if he thought; how did we get here? This wasn’t how I expected it to go down. Why didn’t we see this coming?
Then comes Peter’s testing. We all know the story. As he waits outside, Jesus is put through a mock trial inside with all the Jewish leaders. Their chief goal: get Jesus convicted, sentenced, and on the cross before the masses understand what’s really happening.
Outside in the courtyard, Peter is asked three times if he knows this Jesus who is on trial. He denies knowing Him and hears the rooster crow even before his tongue draws back into its dark home.
What has He done? It’s just as Jesus told him. The words of his Messiah must have been reverberating through his head. Peter, you too will fall away.
How many times have I lived this one out? The answer: far too many.
Forgive me Jesus for all the times I knew what was right and did other. Forgive me for all the times I knew what you had told me, taught me, and I still did it my way. What do I do now that all hope seems gone; the darkness seems to have won?
But wait. Look Peter. Amidst your crying, and dare I say repentance, the sun is breaking the horizon. As the rooster crows, the light is flooding over your, or my, situation. The darkness has turned to day. The end is not yet.
The battle is not over; perhaps, as in our Friday story, the cross is still to come.
The light is overcoming the darkness. We just have to believe, have faith, and get back to looking for the truth we know, the truth we have been told. Restoration is real and possible when we repent and seek Him.
Sunday is coming.
“Sunday is Coming”
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