Friday, 2 April, 2021
Title: Hallelujah, What A Saviour!
By: Ps Cheng Cheung
Mark 16: 7 “Now go and tell His disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee.”
It is Thursday, the night before Jesus’ crucifixion. Foot-washing by the greatest for the least has taken place, the Lord’s supper has been instituted and Judas has departed into the night. Now Jesus and the eleven have gone to the Garden of Gethsemane. There was much on the Lord’s mind. He knew what was ahead, not the least of which was the manifestation of man’s evil and friends’ failures of which He would be the object. How would He respond?
Things are at their darkest at and after Gethsemane. The high priest’s temple officers converge upon Jesus in the garden, He is betrayed by a kiss, His disciples scatter and He is arrested. Thereafter He is cross-examined by Annas and Caiaphas, mocked, dragged off to be interrogated by Pilate, whipped, and scourged, exchanged for a murderer, and released by him to an angry mob. Worst of all He is denied by His closest. He i͟s͟ d͟e͟s͟e͟r͟t͟e͟d͟.
Where is Peter in all of this?
He is confronted by a servant girl before those who had gathered in the courtyard to watch proceedings from a distance ”You also were with Him”. Matt 26: 69-70. Then, after Peter had withdrawn to the gateway, another servant girl asserts more emphatically ”This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth!” Matt 26: 71. Finally, he was accosted by several bystanders “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” Matt 26: 73.
What had been Peter’s response?
70 But he denied it before them all. “ I͟ d͟o͟n͟’t͟ k͟n͟o͟w͟ what you’re talking about,” he said.
72 He denied it again, with an oath: “ I͟ d͟o͟n͟’t͟ k͟n͟o͟w͟ the man!”
74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “ I͟ d͟o͟n͟’t͟ k͟n͟o͟w͟ the man!” The rooster crowed. Each time his insistence that he knew not Jesus was more vehement.
Luke 22: 61 ”And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.” And I am sure, Peter would have caught the Lord’s glance.
Peter had promised to lay down his life for Christ. He was self-sufficient, to the point of naïve arrogance. I wonder what went through Peter’s mind as he wept. ”How could I? How? I am so sorry. Now I know myself better. Will my Lord ever, ever forgive me . . . ?”
Do we fall short? Will we be self-sufficient when the time comes?
And what of the Lord? He knew the spiritual battle that lay ahead: the suffering of His soul, the pressure of carrying “the sin of the world” upon Himself, the impending separation from the other two members of the Godhead. The inevitability of being forsaken by the Father, which had never happened before, would have caused deep emotional anguish.
If Peter had failed you in a similar way, wouldn’t you have felt utterly let down? It would have been natural for one to think ‘I have suffered so much. I am about to face more trials and now you do this. I don’t want anything to do with such a coward anymore!’
But no. That might be our response. But not Jesus’. What do we read the angel tell the women who were the first to reach the tomb on Sunday morning, in Mark 16: 7?
“Now go and tell His disciples, i͟n͟c͟l͟u͟d͟i͟n͟g͟ P͟e͟t͟e͟r͟, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee.”
Jesus had instructed the angel to specifically add Peter’s name to those instructions. Jesus, in spite of all that He was experiencing that Good Friday, in spite of all that He suffered as the world’s sin bearer, in spite of the fact that He had been forsaken, albeit for a moment, by the Father, remembered Peter’s act without malice, and wanted only to restore him with great compassion and forgiveness.
And this Easter, He calls all of us back, those whose love for Him may have waned, those who may be in the spiritual wilderness, those who have become lethargic in fellowship. His love toward you is unchanged.
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
Lord Jesus, today I remember You went all the way to Calvary for me. And in my journey with You Lord Jesus, You have always been faithful, and always patient. Thank You Lord.
Continue to strengthen me, Lord, for I am weak. Show me my blind spots one by one, lest I am overwhelmed by a surge and I fall away. Thank You Lord, that You know best. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.