My Lord is gone, arrested by soldiers, and I watched it happen.
Jesus warned us that this was coming. He asked us to watch and pray in the garden with him. Why didn’t I? Why couldn’t I do this one thing for the Man who has given me everything?
I tried to help Him. When that pig Malchus put his hand on Jesus, I drew my sword and cut off his ear. His ear! I wanted to kill him, and instead all I did was maim him. Big deal.
I can hear a crowd chanting and screaming, so I head in their direction. There is fear and anger in these people. A rough hand grabs my cloak, “Hey, you’re one of His followers, aren’t you?”
I pull away from him, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
As I move through the crowd, a smelly woman begins shouting at the top of her lungs, “This man is one of His followers, grab him.” I shout in her wizened face, “Leave me alone woman, I don’t even know the man.” I slip quietly away with her shrill voice ringing in my ears.
As I get to the outer edge of the crowd, I spy a fire ring near a gate. A small crowd is huddled around the fire for warmth. I look around the courtyard at the growing crowd. Is this where they have taken Jesus? I see a young girl looking at me, her eyes wet with tears. She stands and walks closer to me. She whispers to me, “You are one of Jesus’ followers. You’re the one who had the sword in Gethsemane. You cut off my Uncle Malchus’ ear.” Panic rises in me, and I look around for an escape route. Then her hand reaches out to hold mine. “It’s okay, though. Jesus healed him, put his ear right back. You are one of His followers aren’t you?” I curse loudly, saying things about this poor young girl that are not fit for the ears of a rough man, let alone a small child. “I never knew Him. He is nothing to me. Leave me alone!”
It is then that I notice that the crowd has gone silent. The gate has opened, and there stands Jesus, surrounded by guards. As the sun begins to peek over the hills, a rooster begins to crow. Jesus looks right at me, and I remember the words He spoke at our last dinner. “Peter, before the rooster crows you will deny me three times.” One of the soldiers smacks Jesus in the back with the broad side of his sword and Jesus is roughly pulled and pushed through the crowd.
His words reverberate through my whole being. I gasp in horror, falling to my knees. Grief such as I have never known overtakes me. I run through the crowd, doing my best to get away from this place of my shame, my betrayal, my denial.
He changed my name to Peter. The rock. He said He would build his church on me. Well so much for that. You can’t build your church on a liar and a coward. As I stand on the hillside alone, I try to feel His warmth, His love once again. All I feel is cold. All that surrounds me now is dread and despair.
I have never felt so alone in my life…
That crazy woman is yelling and banging on the door. Shut up, you will get us all killed! John runs back to me, “Jesus isn’t in the tomb, His body is gone.”
We ran like madmen through the streets and out to the burial tombs. There is a huge stone rolled away from the entrance to Jesus’ tomb. There is no way one, or even three men could move that thing. John and I look step into the tomb, expecting the smell of decaying flesh. There is nothing in this room but a wadded up mass of grave clothes! We look at each other and words begin to flash through our minds. “I will rebuild the temple in three days…” “I go to prepare a place for you…”
He’s alive! John and I embrace, screaming like madmen! Suddenly, it all makes sense. Of course the soldiers couldn’t keep Him down. What is death to the Son of God? I watched Him raise people from the dead, of course He would rise again. We are REALLY going to do some great things now!
As we walk back to tell the others, I remember my defeat at the hands of a young girl, and begin to weep. That’s okay, I tell myself, Jesus is alive, and I will find a way to make it up to Him…