Passion Week. The rest of the story.
On Maundy Thursday…
…after the Passover meal…
…after Judas departs…
In the chill of the evening, as Jesus and the disciples stroll to the Mount of Olives, Jesus prepares them for the coming ordeal and begins telling them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night.” *
Peter stops dead in his tracks and declares, “Even if everyone else stumbles because of You, I will never stumble!”
Laying His hand firmly on Peter’s shoulder, Jesus says, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” **
Peter, grasping Jesus’ hand and falling at His feet, cries out, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” ***
“I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know Me.” ****
Continuing on to the garden, Peter follows Jesus so closely He can almost detect Peter’s breath.
But Jesus needs time to be alone with His Father in prayer. As He kneels in intense prayer, He sweats great drops of blood.
But as He prays, Judas appears with a large entourage, armed with swords and clubs. The soldiers arrest Jesus and lead Him away. And Peter follows at a distance.
As the soldiers stop in Caiaphas’ courtyard, Peter slips over to join the servants warming themselves by the fire in the courtyard.
Three rapid-fire accusations unfold against Peter, quickly followed by three denials.
The saddest moment of Peter’s life occurs: the Lord turns and looks at him. Those prophetic words echo through Peter’s mind and stab him in the heart: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
How chilling that crow must have sounded. His heart pounding in grief, he got up and left, weeping bitterly.
But was that the end of the crowing? Doesn’t a rooster crow each morning?
Wouldn’t that cock-a-doodle-doo pierce Peter’s heart each dawn as the enemy’s reminder of his failure?
But wait! What about resurrection morn? Didn’t the cock crow that daybreak also?
Wouldn’t Jesus’ words have comforted him: “I prayed for you, that your faith will not fail. When you have been restored, strengthen your brothers.”
Did Peter continue to hear a daily crowing as the enemy’s opposition to his heart’s desire to serve the Lord or as the Lord’s resurrection reveille to rise up out of despair and serve Him?
Does the enemy crow in your ears, cackling reminders of your past? Or how unworthy you are? Or that you’re a failure?
Or do you hear that triumphant shout of resurrection morn? Telling you that…
* you have victory over your past
* the Lord gives you strength for each task
* you are blessed beyond measure
* you are loved more than you can comprehend
* you are a delight to your heavenly Father’s heart
* you can do all things through Christ?
Does each dawn’s awakening encourage you with fresh mercies?
Which morning crow are you listening to?
May you always hear the crow of encouragement and fresh mercy…Lynn
Along the Via Dolorosa
Along the Via Dolorosa. The Way of Suffering. The Way of Grief. The Painful Way…
Winding through the city of Jerusalem is a stone-paved, narrow way. It meanders through stone buildings of the marketplace, now congested with pilgrims in the city for Passover. Each pilgrim wends his way through the crowd, attempting to shrug off the unwanted venders hawking their wares.
Rushing against this already packed area presses a mob of angry people, along with Roman soldiers. The shoppers have not witnessed the gruesome happenings of the day, though they have heard the rumors of what took place.
Now, confronted with the reality of the events, they turn away in horror at the sight of the man in the center of the throng. Stumbling through this cluster of people is a man bloodied from head to toe, his appearance distorted from a brutal scourging. A crown of thorns presses into his scalp, as blood trickles down into his eyes. A cross beam lays across his slumped, raw back…
On Holy Saturday of Passion week, Scripture says the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate and asked for the tomb to be secured so the disciples could not steal the body of Jesus and announce that He was risen from the dead. “So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.” (Matt. 27:66 NLT)
This is a day of somber reflection as we think upon how dark the world would be without the hope of Christ’s resurrection.
Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior,
waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!
Vainly they watch his bed, Jesus my Savior,
vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!
Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Savior…
Up from the grave He arose
with a mighty triumph o’er his foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
and He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
Woman, Why Do You Weep?
In the chilly dampness of the early morning hours, a woman gropes her way through the dark city streets of Jerusalem. Carrying only a small oil lamp to light her way, Mary Magdalene is joined by Joanna, Salome, and Mary, the mother of James. Leaving the city, they wend their way to the dew-moistened garden where Jesus had been buried.
Dressed in their mourning apparel and blurry-eyed from their tears of grief, they enter the garden of the tomb, carrying the spices to anoint Jesus’ body.
The first glints of sunlight peek over the horizon as they approach the tomb. Suddenly, the ground shakes violently as an angel appears and rolls back the large stone covering the tomb’s entrance.
The angel says, “Do not be afraid; Jesus is not here. He is risen! Go and tell the others.” …
May Resurrection Day joy and blessings abound in your life all year long…Lynn