Friday, March 21, 2008

Even if everyone else does, I won't...

Peter's words to Jesus at the last supper are boastful and confident. Jesus tells the disciples that they will all scatter and leave Him to face the cross alone. Peter confidently tells Jesus, even if all fall away I will never leave you. Even if I have to die, he says. Jesus tells him that before dawn he will deny that He, Peter, even knows Jesus. But, Jesus adds, after you recover, Peter, strengthen the others. And when I, Jesus, rise from the dead I will come and find you in Galilee.

Jesus leads them to the olive grove where they have met many times before. In the darkness of night after eating a meal, sleep and sorrow get the better of them. Peter vaguely hears Jesus warning him and the others to pray in earnest because of what is to come. Satan, Jesus has told Peter, has asked to sift you like wheat. Peter, prepare yourself. Peter nods off again only to be awakened by Jesus as the noise of a mob fills the garden. Judas comes leading an angry group of men. Peter is fully awake now! He draws his sword and cuts off a man's ear. Jesus rebukes him and heals the man before being bound and led away.

Peter and John follow at a distance. The night has grown cold. Peter is drawn to the fire. He denies that he is disciple of Jesus once. A servant girl asks him again. He grows more vehement in his denials. A third person comments on his accent. Peter calls down curses on himself. A rooster crows. Across the courtyard Peter's eyes lock on Jesus' eyes.

Peter is broken. Destroyed by his own failure, as am I. Every boast of my own love for Jesus, every promise to give my everything, every passionate worship song sung with hands raised, forgotten as I willfully choose my sin over Him. I fail a lot. Within hours, Jesus is hanging on a cross naked and alone. He went there for Peter. He went there for me. He went there for you.

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