Friday, April 14, 2017
The End of the Road, Part 8
(continued from yesterday)
"So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit." John 19:30, NKJV.
Simon Peter stood in the crowd, his eyes too dry to weep any more, staring at his Master on the cross. His Master? No, Peter had betrayed Jesus, so how could he now still call the Lord his Master. And Jesus was the first who had called him Peter, the rock, and now that name no longer fit him.
He had been no rock. Jesus had wanted to wash Simon's feet, but no--he refused. At least at first. Then Jesus asked him to pray while He prayed on the Mount of Olives--but no, Simon had fallen asleep instead. Twice. He had rushed to defend Jesus with a sword, but the Lord chastised him and healed the ear of that servant of the priests. Worst of all, Simon had promised he would never desert the Lord, that he would go with Him to prison or to death itself; but when confronted as one of the disciples in the courtyard at Caiaphus's house, he denied he knew Jesus not once; not twice; but three times. When that rooster crowed, Jesus had turned his head and looked right into Simon's eyes. And once more, Simon ran away.
That had been when the tears started. Tears so heavy that they blinded him. The disciple--no, don't call him that any more--had collapsed against a dark building and gave way to weeping until his eyes ran dry and his head felt like an overripe melon. Yet he followed that grim possession through the street and to the hill called Golgotha, staying out of sight as best he could. When Jesus fell beneath the heavy beam and the stranger took up the load, Simon cried out, "That should have been my burden!"
But nothing he could do now could make it up to the Lord. How could the Lord stand to look at him? He, Simon the crying babe, had ruined everything. He was a failure, a loud-mouthed braggart. The others of the disciples would despise him too.
Staying as invisible as he could, Peter--no, Simon--stayed in the distant crowd, trying to be as invisible as his large stature and red hair would allow. When Jesus uttered His last loud cry and dropped His head to His chest, Simon knew the Lord, the One Simon had followed and believed in for the past three years, was now dead. He fell to his knees and also gave a loud cry, a long wail of agony. When people turned to stare at him, Simon rose to his feet and ran blindly, his feet pounding the earth and bricks until he could run no more. He sank to the ground, begging the dirt to cover him.
Surely, this was the end of the road.