Every year at Christmas and Easter, I strive to find some new nugget of truth in the age old story of our Messiah and Savior.
This year, I was amazed to learn....that I relived the story mostly through Peter. And the story goes something like this:
Yes, I've followed Jesus. Sat at His feet. Supped with Him. Broke bread with Him. Walked with Him. Prayed with Him. In fact, I was even the first of my disciple friends, when asked who He is, to declare, "why Lord, you are the Christ." (I was secretly proud I'd gotten the answer right before the other disciples...)
And as I saw that He was the chosen Messiah, long prophesied, now come--this revelation changed me to my very core. Even my name was changed, from Simon to Peter. He said I would become the rock, the foundation of His church--whatever He meant by that, I wasn't sure exactly. But it sure sounded great, important---I even wondered which side of His throne I might sit on.
My whole life was changed by this Son of Man. I left fishing. Why, I was so swept up in His teaching, His example, His power--that when He walked on water and bid me come to Him, I dared to believe I could do the great things He did. I even took up a sword in His defense. I declared I would follow Him even unto death.
But that was before Friday.
Friday, everything changed. What a fool I was. One minute we were having supper, basking in His loving care for our band of brothers, amazed still at His example. The next--they had seized Him and we scattered to the shadows. None of us knowing where the others had fled.
The streets of the city grew strangely quiet. Soldiers feet could be heard about, scraping the cobblestones as they went, searching for sympathizers.
I followed at a safe distance and finally fell in place with a group of street dwellers warming by a fire. Fear gripped me, for I knew not what would become of Him, or of our band of brothers. Where would I go if I had not my brothers but had made such a fool of myself among my friends and family? Suddenly, everything we'd learned, everything He'd said seemed suspect--overstated, surreal, nearly bordering on psycho-babble, or merely a well-meaning man who'd falsely raised our hopes only to leave us empty in the end. How ridiculous I must have appeared to everyone!
The words slid from my mouth, no, my innermost being, and past my lips--"No, I never knew him."
Cold shame seeped to my bones. Bile seared the back of my mouth and throat. Tears burned my eyes even as I set my jaw firmly in place with the realization that----it was over, and try as I might, it had all failed.
I wasn't a rock. Would never be a rock.
And my sorrow only sunk deeper as Friday melded to Saturday, our day of preparation. Our mourning was compounded by our persistent fear and terrible shame. Disillusioned, we stumbled through the motions.
Slumber after those terrible days was fitful and I awoke early Sunday. Mary was banging on my door to tell us the unbelievable greetings that "He lives!"
My joy, my shame, my curiosity, my hope all welled up together as we met Him once again. And when I saw Him--at once I knew, He loved me still. Though I'd been so afraid to declare His glory. Though I'd only wanted to keep His love selfishly private.
When He looked into my eyes, to my very soul--I knew His great mercy--for I did not deserve His forgiveness. But in a glance He'd already given it and more, pushing me further, drawing me deeper into His Kingdom and I knew it had all been.....THE TRUTH. All of it. It had all been very REAL.
"Simon Peter," He said," do you love me more than these?"
"Oh Lord, You know that I do." I wept.
"Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep. Follow Me."
He said that when I was young, I could go and do as I wished, but as I am older I will be taken where I do not wish to go.
Then I knew it. The TRUTH about Him would sweep me deeper into His kingdom, to tell of His teachings, His love to all the world...no matter where it would take me. And so, we waited for His Holy Spirit to come as He promised. And after His breath came from heaven, I was compelled to share with all who were thirsty to hear it--and even those who might refuse to believe it. Crowds gathered to hear it.
And when the story went public, my earlier shame cast aside, my fears of appearing foolish and wrong melted away as we baptized over 3,000 souls.
And a part of my old self died that day as we told His story.
And so a rock was found under my feet....
....I am Peter.
Blog post by Anne Love-Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. Nurse Practitioner by day. Wife, mother, writer by night. Coffee drinker--any time.