“It is finished.”
These are the words John said Jesus uttered yesterday before sagging one final time against the nails and breathing His final ragged breath.
Finished? Lord, how can it be finished? Just a week ago you rode into Jerusalem like a conquering hero, palm branches waving, the crowd chanting, “Hosanna!” Now this Sabbath morning you lay sealed up in a borrowed tomb, broken, beaten, abused…and gone.
How can this have happened?
You called me Cephas. Peter. Stone. Rock? Surely you couldn’t have known what I would do last night or you would have called me something else. Three times I denied you. Three times! Then when you looked at me I thought I would die. My eyes are red from crying. I have no tears left. I feel more inconsequential than a grain of sand. Some rock. On me you would build a church?
This wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Your time here has been too short. Only three years we have traveled with you, walked where you walked, seen you do the amazing things you have done. You are the Son of God! I know it. I saw you up on the mountain, transformed before my eyes. It was a terrifying and wonderful sight to see.
Why did you let them take you like that last night? Out of the darkness came an angry mob, carrying stones and swords, treating you like you were a dangerous criminal. All your hands have ever done is bring hope and healing. And Judas, that traitor. Why did you let him betray you? Then they took you away and we fled, we left you alone. All the big talk and promises and not one of us stood by your side. You were left to meet Pilate and Herod alone. You endured the whip alone. You carried your cross alone. Even a stranger had to be plucked from the crowd to help you with that.
I am ashamed to even face any of the others. I am Peter. Big. Boisterous. Quick to speak, quick to act. Yet in your hour of greatest need, my mouth denied you, my sword struck one whom you healed, my feet fled you and now I lay cold and shivering in hiding outside your tomb. I see the guards they have posted outside your tomb. I guess even in death you are a threat to the religious leaders.
What would you have me do Lord? I am not sure where to even begin. Once I have walked with you how can I go back to fishing? I have nowhere to go. I have no one to turn to. Give me peace Lord. Forgive me for denying you. I am sorry for what you faced alone. I am sorry for falling asleep last night as you prayed. Forgive me, O Lord please forgive me.
You said this had to happen, but I still don’t understand. You said three days, so I will wait here. Jesus, where else can I go but where you are?
I will get up tomorrow, on the third day, and find the others. Together, if they will have me, we will try to carry on…
I am Peter. I am yours.