George Michael said…
‘You gotta have faith.’
…and hearing it play, I got to thinking, so here’s a post about one of the reasons why mine is SO strong!
66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest:
67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.
68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.
69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them.
70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto.
71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.
72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.
This is, for me, a key piece of scripture because of the overall narrative of Peters life. In this piece of scripture, he is afraid of death, he is filled with worldly fears. The reason I find it compelling is simple. How Peter dies. Something utterly transformational just has to have happened.
Simon Called Peter by Christ died 33-34 years after the death of Christ. According to Smith’s Bible Dictionary, there is “satisfactory evidence that he and Paul were the founders of the church at Rome and died in that city. The time and manner of the apostle’s martyrdom are less certain. According to the early writers, he died at or about the same time with Paul, and in the Neronian persecution, A.D. 67,68. All agree that he was crucified. Origen says that Peter felt himself to be unworthy to be put to death in the same manner as his Master, and was, therefore, at his request, crucified with his head downward.”
This man who denied knowing Christ, such was his fear of death, was eventually crucified upside down for his faith. He didn’t recant. He stood firm, this time. WHY?
WHAT CHANGED? What did he witness, that had such a dramatic effect on this former swearing fisherman?
Oh yes, don’t picture an old dude in robes, hands clasped demurely and a halo around his bonce. THIS GUY was real! A total hard-nut. What you would term (if you come from London) as a GEEZER GEEZE! He is the disciple I think I can relate to the most. Gobby and cock-sure but with a passion and good heart that meant, when they arrested Jesus HE tried to protect his Lord by cutting off one of their ears and had to be reprimanded by Jesus as he healed the man of his wound! He was impulsive and reckless but his heart was in the right place. THEN? The betrayal. Jesus told him it would be so and he had fiercely and passionately denied that it would happen. The cock crowed and he wept, God, love him. It is kind of understandable then, that when the women reported Jesus’ resurrection and the other disciples dismissed them, he ran to check out the tomb, he was just SO mortified at his own betrayal and desperate to undo it.
But I really feel this is where we need to give the fella some lee-way concerning that betrayal. It wasn’t done in a casual manner or out of a mean spirit or even cowardice. It was done out of actual unadulterated terror. And what terror? He had a few hours before cut off some bloke’s ear in defense of his Lord. So he wasn’t a coward by any means.
You must also understand the reality of his denial. The reality being, he wasn’t saying it to curious passers-by or uninterested party’s who were merely nosing around. It wasn’t in a huge courtyard, (as is often depicted in dramatizations of the event) The actual courtyard he was in was less than 6 meters squared, a tiny space and the people accusing him were literally feet away and were part of the heavy-handed mob baying for the blood of the ‘Christ followers.’ They were looking to curry favor by delivering co-conspirators to the authorities.
The difference between Peter and Judas is, Peter repented and left a testimony worthy of our respect and interest.
He made mistakes but he did not let them define him. He allowed God to mould him and in the end his mistake is the greatest testament to the truth of God. His test became a testimony. His mess, a message and something we ourselves can hold onto when we look up into heaven and say ‘God? I fucked up again.’ And he can say. “What do you mean again?” 😉
His life and death are not just models but proof of a God who SO loved the world. As, like the other disciples, he welcomed death and did not recant. One would expect that if Jesus’ resurrection was fake, they would, with the threat of death, recant and give up his body’s location but these men’s torture and deaths in the most horrific ways is, to me, clear proof that they saw not only Christ’s resurrection but his ascension.
What did they have to fear? Certainly not the grave. For they had seen their Lord ascend up into heaven on clouds and held his words and promises as tightly as they possibly could.
Let me put it in perspective.
12 men lie and rather than expose their lie they put up with living in fear for their lives, only to be tortured and put to death, for what? What would the lie give them? What would make that worth it? Were they ALL delusional?ALL 12?
Like, what are the odds this Jesus fellow found 12 delusional beings in the middle of a town where he lived? That doesn’t make sense. 12 delusional men, ALL tortured and martyred for a cause that wasn’t real? The odds are slowly diminishing, aren’t they?
On a personal note, had I been part of such a huge conspiracy? I’d be like…
“Oh, we lied, let me show you his body, it’s over here!”
And if you’re honest, no matter how much you loved the man you would too! It isn’t human nature to die for a lie!
Maybe you think the authorities stole the body? Then, when this little Christian movement rose up and threatened their authority, why did they not just produce the body?They were looking for it and never found it! Because it wasn’t there to find.
Think about it, it isn’t rocket science!
THIS, combined with a deep and EXTENSIVE history with fucking up and the Lord coming to my rescue time AND TIME again, is WHY I believe and why I agree with George because you really do…
gotta have Faith-a-faith-a-faith. 😛
PS: Part of me, likes to believe old Peter was ADHD he is certainly written like he had it and Jesus puts up with him with such patience it gives me ALOT of hope 😉