Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday of Holy Week: Rejection and Abandonment

Two of the events remembered on Holy Tuesday are those in which Jesus' own close disciples failed him. One is Judas' agreement to point Jesus out for arrest in exchange for money - 30 pieces of silver, to be exact. The other event was Peter's own fearful denial that he even knew Jesus. It is this temporary and unplanned abandonment that shows us how weak we can be when fear takes over our minds.

From John 13:36-38, in the Good News translation:

" 'Where are you going, Lord?' Simon Peter asked him.  
" 'You cannot follow me now where I am going,' answered Jesus; 'but later you will follow me.'
" 'Lord, why can't I follow you now?' asked Peter. 'I am ready to die for you!'
"Jesus answered, 'Are you really ready to die for me? I am telling you the truth: before the rooster crows you will say three times that you do not know me.'

Go to Matthew 26:57-74 to read the rest, how Peter followed after Jesus was arrested, but blurted out denials when asked if he knew our Lord.

Both Peter and Judas were immediately remorseful when they recognized the enormity of what they had done. But Peter's betrayal was thoughtless, instinctual, while Judas acted with premeditation. Both broke Jesus' heart - and each broke his own heart as well. Where Judas despaired afterward, and killed himself in his grief, Peter spent the rest of his life sharing the Good News and in the end, he did gain the courage to die for Christ. Peter was martyred, crucified by the Roman emperor Nero about the time of the great fire, in about 64 AD.

The painting is oil on copper plate, titled "Peter's Denial",  by the 19th century Danish artist Carl Bloch Peters.

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