by Christy Whitaker
Can you imagine what it was like for the disciples when Jesus was arrested? Imagine completely upending your entire life because you were completely certain that the long-predicted savior, who your people had been told about for generations, had finally come. The one who would make everything right. The one who would take all of the broken things of this world and put them together again. You even witnessed his healing and miracles! He controlled the wind, and he provided food for those who were hungry exactly as God had done for your ancestors long before you were born. At the same time, you spent the past three years in his presence. He taught you, he loved you, he laughed with you, he ate with you, he tried to explain to you what was about to happen even though you aren’t totally sure what it all means.
Imagine being Peter, who as the Roman soldiers and priests approached Jesus to arrest him, “drew a sword and slashed the right ear of the high priest’s slave” (John 18:10). Peter was ready to fight for his savior, his friend! But instead, Jesus told him to put his sword away, and healed the man Peter struck. They wouldn’t be fighting this.
But Peter still followed behind. He stayed close as his savior was questioned, blindfolded, beaten, spit on, slapped, and prepared to be brought to the governor for execution on a cross. As Jesus refused to fight back, Peter’s world seemed to fall apart. His hope for the future, for Israel, for the world suddenly felt like despair. So when he was asked by others around him if he knew Jesus, he said no. His fear and despair overwhelmed him. He felt weak, and guilty for denying his friend. Then Peter “broke down and wept” (Mark 14:72).
Peter lost hope that day but he didn’t know what we now know.
He lost hope in that moment but after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, Peter would never lose hope like that again. His savior was not really gone. When Jesus sacrificed himself, he covered the penalty for sin, he proved God’s great love, and made it so that, by following Jesus, we can each come confidently before God. Peter would never lose hope again.
He spent the rest of his life preaching the good news about Jesus despite the threats to his life, the beatings and arrests, and his eventually martyrdom in the circus of Nero.
Today, there is no reason to lose hope because, unlike Peter, we know the whole story. Jesus’ work on the cross and his resurrection have been completed! He is holding out his hand and wants so badly to pull us onto our feet and for us to follow after him. This means surrendering our ways for his ways.
We will all face hard things. We have and will face tragedy, loss, trauma. We will see horrible things going on in the world around us and mourn for what is happening. Many people experience these things and have no where to turn, but we have a God who comforts and saves. And He will absolutely comfort those who come to him.
We get to live with confidence because our God made a way for us and when we die, however tragic or ugly it may be, the very next moment will be the best moment of our entire existence. Because we will be with our good, holy, loving God. All because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.