Voices of Holy Week: Peter

Reading: Luke 22.54-62

What would you do? I mean, who would behave any differently? Put in that position everyone would have been the same, right?

He’d told me that I’d do it too. But I didn’t believe him. I said I’d be there for him. I said I’d go to prison and even death. But he was certain that I would let him down. I couldn’t believe that he thought that of me. I thought he knew I would be with him always. I was certain that I’d be right behind him. I had always been with him since the earliest days when he called me away from the lake. I might have been a bit clumsy, and maybe I put my foot in it from time to time, but that didn’t make me a bad follower, did it? I gave it a go to see if I could prove that I’d learnt from him. But that didn’t always work out so well. Sometimes I made myself look a bit foolish, because I wanted to be the one who sat beside him in heaven, but he made sure I wasn’t thinking like that. We had been so close. We had been a band of disciples who learnt from him. We never really thought that our lives would be at stake.

That day in Caesarea Philippi when he asked us who we thought he was changed everything. He asked us who the Son of Man is. Some of the guys said it was John the Baptiser, while others were talking about Elijah or Jeremiah. I mean, can that miserable Jeremiah be the Son of Man? Then he asked us who he was. The guys must have been a bit confused or stunned because they all went quiet. I said he was the Messiah, Son of the Living God. His face radiated as I said it, and he told me that I was to be the rock of his community, and be the one who could make or break bonds on earth or heaven. No pressure there then. He must have respected me so much, he said that I would have the keys to heaven and would be central to his community. I was the one he chose to be given that privilege. Thinking back on it, Judas looked a bit shifty even then.

But when he was arrested, we panicked. What were we to do? How could we be able to mark the festival when our friend and leader had been taken away? Judas made himself scarce after that. But I went to the courtyard where the authorities were based and kept my eyes and ears open. I needed to know what was going on with him. I thought I could keep a low profile, just hear what was happening and then report back to the others. But someone seemed to recognise me – maybe they’d seen me at the Temple with him. I told them they must have been mistaken. I’d seen how they’d dragged him off, and I wasn’t the one they wanted, it was him. Better for me to keep quiet and hope for news. There was some conversation, and maybe someone recognised my accent wasn’t from the city. They were persistent. Wasn’t I with him? Hadn’t I travelled from Galilee with him? No! I said. Wasn’t I one of his friends and confidants? Wasn’t I one who had been seen arriving with him? Hadn’t I been one who shared the meal with him? NO! It wasn’t anything to do with me.

Then, as the conversation went quiet, morning reached the courtyard, and the crackle of the fire was pierced by the cock crow. My life was safe for now. But I’d denied him three times as he had said. Surely I didn’t do anything any one of us wouldn’t do?

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