Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterwards.’ Peter said to him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ Jesus answered, ‘Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times. (John 13:36-38)
The story of Peter’s betrayal of Jesus comes at the end of the 13th chapter of John; a chapter that describes the final night of Jesus’ time on earth. In the church it is sometimes called Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday. It is the story of the last hours of Jesus’ earthly life, giving out his last signs & stories to his disciples. Jesus stands before Peter, predicting his betrayal…”before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.” And Peter does as Jesus predicts…he denies Him again, and again, and again. Jesus knew that this would happen…but he enters into relationship with Peter and the other disciples anyway. He knew their strengths and their weaknesses, and loves them despite of their shortcomings.
This is Peter’s story but it is also ours. Like Peter, we listen, we follow, and we learn, but we too end out betraying Jesus. Maybe we are complacent to injustice, maybe we do not give as much as we can to the needs of others, and maybe we ignore the pain of someone we know is hurting. Following Jesus is much harder than we imagine. But, like Peter, Jesus loves us…despite our shortcomings.
Gracious God...help us to see that when we betray one another, we betray you. Keep our eyes open and our minds aware of how our individual choices effect the circumstances of others. May we work in harmony with your will so that we might love one another as Jesus showed us how to love...Amen.
Rev. Kim Mabry - loyal, loving, creative