Saturday: Fifth Week of Lent
Have you ever travelled to Jerusalem?
On a visit to Jerusalem, my wife and I visited what was purported to be the home and courtyard of the high priest during Jesus’ day. Was this where the Jews brought Jesus to be questioned? Was this where Peter warmed himself by the fire while Jesus was interrogated? For me, the surprising element of the place was the dungeon where prisoners were kept. Not a pleasant scene—shackles, chains, a stone, and a cold, dark dungeon!
Could Jesus have actually spent time there? Is this what Peter feared when he pretended not to know Jesus? What went through his mind as three times he denied his master, his teacher, his friend? Did he really think that no one would recognize his Galilean accent? And if it was John, “the other disciple who was known to the high priest” who let Peter in the door (18:16), wouldn’t everyone assume, that he too was a disciple of Jesus?
So many questions! But perhaps it is better to ask myself some difficult questions? Do I have a tendency towards fear or courage when it comes to identifying with Christ? Would my response be loyalty or abandonment when my own personal safety is threatened? Am I willing to sacrifice for my Lord, at least in some small measure, the way He sacrificed Himself for me?
We know the good news of this story is that after His resurrection, Jesus reinstates Peter. But this passage is not there yet. Peter denied His master, and became a broken man. How did he bear this burden for those days in between the denial and the reinstatement? He had much time to ponder the depth of his disappointing deeds. Perhaps it is also good for us to ponder our brokenness, our frailties, our tendency to disappoint ourselves and God. It is this sinfulness that Christ has come to remedy; to do for us what no one can do for themselves.
What will be your answer when asked, “Aren’t you one of His disciples?” or “Didn’t I see you with Him in the garden?”
Ben Wohlgemut is a Development Officer for MB Seminary and Pastor to Seniors at Fairview Church in St. Catharines, ON.