Good Friday of Holy Week
Today’s readings: Genesis 22:1-14; 1 Peter 1:10-20; John 13:36-38
“Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow afterward.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why cannot I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ Jesus answered, ‘Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times’” (John 13:36-38).
It sometimes seems that the events of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are etched into our collective memory. Christians may not remember much of Holy Scripture, but the details of our Lord’s passion and death stay with us. Nothing more so than Peter’s heart-breaking denial—not once, not twice, but three times!
Peter was one of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples. When big things are happening, you can always count on Peter, James and John being there. Peter is arguably first among the disciples. It is Peter who confesses, “You are the Christ,” and upon this confession, Jesus says He will build His Church. How deeply troubling it must have been, then, that Peter will deny Jesus three times.
We look at Peter and ask, “How could you do it?” Couldn’t you have been stronger than that? Why would you betray your Lord and Master? We like to beat up on Peter for his denials. We’re not very forgiving of the sins of Peter, thinking he should have been better, stronger, more faithful. A more useful approach to Peter might be to see ourselves in him!
Oh, we would never deny Jesus, would we? We ARE better, stronger, more faithful—or so we think. The example of Peter in the Bible, however, assures us not that God chooses and uses perfect and perfectly faithful persons to be disciples, but as God used imperfect Peter, maybe God can use you and me!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you were crucified with Peter’s bitter betrayal ringing in your ears, yet he became a powerful preacher, empowered by your resurrection. Empower us, as well—to share the good news. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.