Matthew’s Passion: desertion and denial

Matthew’s Passion:
Peter and Jesus

40 Blogs of Lent: 18

Matthew 26:30-35

The party is over, the last hymn of the feast has been sung. Jesus and his disciples are on their way from the secret supper room to a lonely place outside Jerusalem’s walls. If the earlier bombshells were not enough; about Jesus being betrayed, then some weird things being said about bread and wine, the Disciples understood none of this, not yet, Jesus is about to say something even worse.

crucifix on top of bible
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Jesus makes two predictions. The first is that his followers will all desert him. The second is that he will be raised and see them in Galilee. Jesus, in his darkest times, in the disciples’ darkest times, in our darkest times, has words of encouragement. We will fail him, we all fail him, but he will restore us. We are never left alone in our troubled times, our stressful times, even when we are depressed Jesus is there in our darkness, able to empathise, able to help because he has gone through his darkness and trouble too. Jesus understands us when we are tired and afraid.

But Peter steps in. Bold impetuous Peter has to put his mouth in gear. Peter who stepped out of the boat when Jesus was walking on water shows his ability to act or speak without thinking again. Peter who rebuked Jesus when Jesus first revealed he would go to the cross, Peter who is so sure of himself acts like Peter always acts. He tells Jesus he will never desert him.

Jesus says that Peter, the strong rock on which the church will be built, is going to do more than just run away, but deny knowing Jesus.

And Peter does what Peter always does. Peter acts tough. Peter is not alone. He is one of eleven men acting tough here. They are all wrong. But in all this Jesus has already promised the way back to him, that after he is raised he will meet with them.

It is the same with us. When we let Jesus down, and we will, Jesus provides a way back. Jesus is waiting for us to turn around and come back to him. Jesus love for us is too great, his acceptance of us cannot be measured. When we need grace Jesus has more than enough and forgiveness too.

-o0o-

For those who like to follow the reading, here it is:

30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

Matthew 26 ESVUK

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

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