Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday Reflection

Each year, Bretton Woods takes part in a Community Good Friday Service on the West side of Lansing which includes participation from Reformed, Baptist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Grace Brethren, and any combination thereof. For tonight’s service, the five pastors will each be sharing Good Friday narratives from the perspective of different characters in the Biblical narrative. I wrote a first person narrative from Peter’s perspective, and thought it worth sharing with you all.

I don’t claim to really know the extent of Peter’s thoughts and feelings on that night, but I hope you’ll find this a faithful rendering, and a help on your own journey to the cross. 

Grace and peace to you this Good Friday.



Good Friday 2011 | Peter’s perspective

Last night, all of us got together to keep the Passover. We’re accustomed to the Lord’s idiosyncrasies. Having us approach a stranger about keeping the feast at his house was no surprise. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised when Jesus got up from the meal and bowed before each of us and began washing our feet.

But I was. I was quite surprised, and a little offended. What business does the Lord have washing my feet? Jesus is no slave. We’ve come all the way to Jerusalem, to His Father’s temple, to the place where all authority sits, and Jesus wants to act like he doesn’t have any power? It’s just this sort of behavior that makes so many priests and teachers and crowds and authorities want to get rid of him.

I’m the servant. I serve Jesus. I’ve given up my livelihood to follow him, and now he wants to be my servant? Wash my feet? No, I needed to wash his feet. So I offered.

But he said that if he didn’t wash me, then I’d have no part with him. So of course I asked him to wash all of me. If being washed by him draws me closer to him, then I want a full bath! Wash my hair, my hands, all of me!

Then Jesus says that I’ve already bathed. I don’t need a bath. I’m already clean.

Which is it? It’s hard to describe how confused I am. He explained something about loving one another and another thing about servants not being greater than their masters.

But that’s not true. Masters are greater than servants. That’s why they’re masters and not servants. He’s the master. We should all bow before him and wash his feet. Jesus is being reckless, washing our feet. Somebody around here is going to get a big head if he keeps serving us.

Then things got really disturbing. Jesus said that one of us would betray him, and that all of us would lose faith. “No way!” I told him. He’s the greatest. I wouldn’t ever lose faith in him, even if everyone else did. I know who this guy is. I’ve been walking with him for three years! I hadn’t known Jesus to be wrong before, but this time I was sure. I will never lose faith. I’m too strong for that.

Jesus prayed for me. He prayed for all of us. He prayed that we’d be strong and spread his love throughout the world. I’m ready to get started right now. What are we waiting for?

With stomachs full of food and wine from the Passover feast, we took a trip to the garden. It’s one of Jesus’ favorite places to come to pray. But it was late. Very late. He wanted us to stay up and pray with him. Doesn’t he understand how tired we are? We’ve been traveling, our stomachs are full, and we’re sleepy.

He told us to keep watch. Keep watch? For what? Oh, if only I had known.

Out of nowhere, comes that TRAITOR Judas, leading a crowd to come take Jesus away. What is going on? This is what we were keeping watch for? I thought we might be keeping watch for the coming of God’s Kingdom, the fall of Caesar, or even something like that day we saw Jesus on the mountain with Moses and Elijah. Anything but this…


Jesus is our leader. He can’t be imprisoned. Betrayed with a kiss from Judas? I would like to cut those lips right off his face! HOW DARE HE!

What is Jesus’ plan here? They’ve just taken him away, and the accusations are serious: making false claims and blaspheming. None of it’s true, but they’ve taken him all the same. What do I do with this? How could Jesus leave us like this? I’ve heard he might be executed for these charges. Then what will we do?

How could he leave us alone? Is that why he washed our feet? Because he’s not going to lead us anymore? I’ve always trusted Jesus, but he’s always been our leader. If he’s not going to lead, I’m not sure how to follow.

I’m so confused, scared, heartbroken. And there’s no sense in all of us getting arrested here. What do I do?

<<as though interrupted>>

What’s that? Jesus of Nazareth? Don’t know him.

<<in prayer>>

O God, what am I saying?

<<interrupted again>>

No, no, I’m not one of his followers.

<<in prayer>>

God, is this really happening? Is he really going to die?


What’s that? My accent? I don’t know what you’re talking about

<<in prayer>>

Dear God, what have I done?

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