Posts Tagged ‘Saint Peter’

jesus

By Friday of this week (if you don’t know the way the story ends) it looks like the wrath of God has eclipsed the God of Love. But it isn’t so. Mercy triumphs over Judgment at Easter: love triumphs over wrath. Love is the new commandment given on this night by Jesus after he has washed the disciples’ feet …. “Love one another as I have loved you.” This is the “mandatum novum” from which the name “Maundy Thursday” comes.

But the disciples don’t fully comprehend how deeply Jesus has loved them. After all they had been through, it took a king on his knees with a towel around his waist to prove to them the loving, servant heart of God (what if our President, or a king, were to wash the feet of a bunch of fishermen today? What if it were your feet?). But even so, Peter the disciple doesn’t understand why Jesus would defile himself in this way.

If Peter finds it hard to accept that Jesus his king would humiliate himself by washing his followers’ feet, he will be even more confounded tomorrow. For there will be another demonstration of how God loves on Good Friday, when the perfect love of God in Jesus faces the wrath of God against evil, and triumphs in the end. All for the love of us.

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He now showed the disciples the full extent of his love. It was time for supper, and the Devil had already enticed Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to carry out his plan to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he had around him. When he came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, why are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now why I am doing it; someday you will.” “No,” Peter protested, “you will never wash my feet!”Jesus replied, “But if I don’t wash you, you won’t belong to me.” Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!” Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you are clean, but that isn’t true of everyone here.” For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.” After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because it is true. And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them. You know these things —now do them! That is the path of blessing. (NLT)

Mark 11.1-10

As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany, on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into that village over there,” he told them, “and as soon as you enter it, you will see a colt tied there that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.'” The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside a house. As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it. Many in the crowd spread their coats on the road ahead of Jesus, and others cut leafy branches in the fields and spread them along the way. He was in the center of the procession, and the crowds all around him were shouting, “Praise God! Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Bless the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in highest heaven!” (NLT)

Peace is my last gift to you, my own peace I now leave with you; peace which the world cannot give, I give to you. I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you.

Peace is my last gift to you, my own peace I now leave with you; peace which the world cannot give, I give to you. By this shall the world know that you are my disciples: That you have love for one another. (BCP)

Prayer

Wash me clean Lord. I want to receive all you have for me. I am blessed and honored when you serve me; I am humbled by your humility. Help me remember your healing and cleansing. Don’t let me forget my salvation. In darkness help me call on your name, Jesus. In darkness, be the light of my heart; may I never be afraid. I am longing for your sunrise, Jesus. In your mercy, give me the gift of hope. And by your love, help me to love others. Teach me your way in the coming days. Help me to understand how you have loved me, and how you love me still.

judasJohn 21:21-32 After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

• • •

Today’s word is NIGHT. Judas’s betrayal is underlined by the Gospel’s ominous words, “…and it was night.” Even as the darkness was approaching, we see the loving hospitality of Jesus, sharing bread with one he treated as a friend. Though Jesus knew what was to be in his betrayer’s heart, yet still he engages him in deep conversation at the table. How deep must be the pull of darkness when the light of Christ’s friendship and kindness cannot break through!

Judas’s story reminds us that closeness to the Savior is not enough. The light of living faith must be present to illuminate the inky blackness of our hearts. The betrayer’s spirit was soon to be all night and no stars; pitch black, not allowing even the tiniest glint of moonlight to shine through. The source of this deep darkness? — “After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him.” Thus the chill depths of night fell in full force.

John Killinger comments on this scene:

Judas may have been almost as close to Jesus at the table as John, for Jesus had handed him the morsel. As treasurer of the group, he probably held a place of importance, perhaps even on Jesus’ left hand. It is likely, when Jesus spoke to him, that the others did not hear. “What you are going to do, do quickly,” said Jesus (v. 27). And Judas went out.

…There is an ominous note in John’s words “and it was night” (v. 30). Jesus had come as the light of the world, and he was opposed by the darkness (1:4-5). Near the end of his public ministry, Jesus had warned: “Night comes” (9:4). “If any one walks in the night,” he said, “he stumbles, because the light is not in him” (11:10). Now Judas had gone out into the darkness. Soon the darkness would appear to overcome the light.

And so Holy Week takes its ominous turn as we draw near to the Death of jesus (in this world). Stay tuned tomorrow for what happens next.

Prayer for Holy Wednesday:

Father, on this day I acknowledge you as the One who said in the beginning, “Let there be light” — and there was light. In the dark wilderness of our lives, your light leads the way.

I confess the darkness in my own heart; in fact, it frightens me how much I am attracted to the darkness. Even when you engage me in warm, bright kindness, I find myself feeling the pull of the night. Lord Jesus, be my Light and my Salvation this day. Send out your light and truth and let them lead me. May your word be a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Deliver my soul from death, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before you in the light of the living.

Forgive me, renew me, and lead me, that in this holiest of weeks I may delight in your will and walk in your ways. Amen.

imagesRepent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted outActs 3:19

Peter is here addressing the very people who had helped to crucify Jesus, but his words are appropriate to anyone who denies the claims of Christ upon their lives, or who just want to change their sinful habits when they feel trapped by them.

Repent of your obstinate rejection of Christ. But more than that, Peter says, be converted. Peter is not just looking for these guilty men and women to confess their past mistakes; he wants them to change, to turn to the Lord.

It is not dhard to find individuals, from many different walks of life, who are willing to admit that they have made mistakes, even sinned, in some of their life choices. Almost everyone will admit that they have done some wrong, even bad, things.

However, it is another thing altogether to actually be willing to turn from a past mindset and way of life, to turn from sin and to God. Therefore, Peter did not just insist on the need for repentance in the form of an apology or confession. He desired to see true repentance, which is displayed in a change of direction and action.

To those who repent and are converted to the ways of Christ, Peter gives this assurance: your sins will be blotted out. Have you submitted to the divinity of Christ? Have you turned away from sin in order to serve Jesus as Lord?