I suspect that he envisioned a quick victory. While it’s likely he expected tense moments, Peter certainly expected God to act powerfully before things became their darkest. The Palm Sunday crowds with their shouts of “Hosanna” seemed to confirm Peter’s confidence.
On Maundy Thursday, I imagine the confidence of the disciples as they playfully joust back and forth about who is best among them. The high spirits reflected their expectation of how things were going to turn out. Then Jesus took up the basin and the towel and showed them a different way of being. Jesus, in that act of loving service, began to unravel his disciples’ expectations.
A little while later came the shouts and swords, the capture and trial. What had begun as a celebratory feast had transformed into a long, fear-filled night. Yet Peter screwed his courage to the sticking place and snuck in to hear the examination of the Jesus. Imagine Peter’s desperate hope: surely now, at this moment of crisis, God would supernaturally intervene, as he had done for Elijah on Mt. Carmel. This was the darkest hour. God would vindicate Jesus and usher in his kingdom.
But the coming of Good Friday brought no relief. Jesus’ blood was spilt on the stones. His hoarse voice cried in desperation, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!”
Things had not turned out how Peter expected.
Linger there with Peter for a while. He never thought things would be this bleak. His thoughts for the future had been snatched away. Everything he’d been working for, dreaming about, hoping in – all of it was suddenly gone. Who among us is unable to empathize? Who has not experienced the death of a dream, the shelving of a hope?
But Jesus specializes in making dead things alive again. That’s the glory of Easter. That’s the message of being born again, being renewed, new life.
Holy week takes us on that emotional journey, from the highs of Palm Sunday through the agony of Good Friday to the joy of Easter. We will continue with our traditional Holy Week special services. I hope you’ll join us for our Maundy Thursday communion service on Thursday, April 17 at 7pm. In this service, we’ll gather around the Lord’s Supper and reflect on the call of Christ in our lives. Also, please join us for our Good Friday service, Friday April 18 from noon to 3pm, in which we’ll solemnly reflect on the seven last sayings of Christ from the cross.
We’ve been through a lot this past year.
But Easter’s coming….
Soli Deo Gloria,
Originally Published in the April 2014 edition of the Covenant Courier. To learn more about Covenant-First Presbyterian and our Holy Week worship services, please visit our website.