Sunday, February 21, 2016

Passion Voices: Peter

His words surprised me.

"You will all fall away because of me this night," Jesus said last night at the Seder.

Not me, I thought. Hey, I'm the rock.

"Though everyone else may desert you, I never will." I said it and I meant it. I had to speak up. I wanted Him to know He could count on me.

He looked at me, and I will never forget those eyes of sadness and love. He said that before the rooster crows, I would deny him three times.

"No, no, never." I said. That's what we all said. But everything was happening so fast. Things were spinning out of control, and I was dizzy with fear.

He went to the Garden to pray. He took just the three of us--me and James and John. The sky was pressing down so hard, I couldn't stay awake. He woke us, but we all fell asleep again. Just when he needed us most!

Then the soldiers came with Judas to arrest Jesus. Why was Judas doing this? He was one of us. I didn't even stop to think. I grabbed my sword and cut off the ear of one of the guards. They had no right.

No right!

Again Jesus rebuked me. "Those who live by the sword will die by the sword." And He bent down and picked up the severed ear and placed it back on the soldier's head.

When they took the Master away, I followed--but not too close. I didn't want to get arrested too. But what I saw was terrible. They whipped Him and drove thorns into his head. What had He done to deserve this?

Then a woman pointed at me and snarled through crooked teeth. "He's one of them. He was with Jesus." I was terrified.

"No," I said, "I don't even know him."

Another one looked at me and said, "He was with them."

"I tell you, I don't know him!" 

Later some other bystanders said that I must be a disciple too. They said my Galilean accent gave me away. I was furious. These people were trying to get me killed. I cursed and screamed, "No, I don't know this man."

Just then, the rooster crowed.

Someone said this morning that Judas hung himself last night. Why, oh why, didn't I do the same thing?

I am so ashamed.

Photo Credits:
     Peter, by Masaccio
     Detail from the Last Supper, from the Netherlands

     Agony in the Garden, by Andrea Mantegna         Jesus Arrested, by Giotto
     Peter Denies Christ, detail from a mural
     The Rooster Crows, by A. L. O. E.
     The Repentant Peter, by El Greco

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