I've always felt the strongest connection to Jesus’ first disciples when I read about their various responses to the events of Passion Week—the confidence following Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the fear after his arrest, the doubt and despair in the shadow of the cross, the surprising joy of meeting the resurrected Lord.
Little details remind me of the ups and downs of my own faith journey, like how Peter, James, and John slept through their rabbi’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, how Peter tried to take matters into his own hands by cutting off the Roman soldier’s ear, how the men didn’t believe Mary, Joanna, and Mary when they first reported the resurrection, how Thomas needed more proof.
I think Mark’s description of the Apostle Peter after the arrest of Jesus best summarizes my own experience of doubt. As Jesus faced trial, and as the disciples began to fear that Jesus was just another man and their ministry with him just a waste of time, the Gospel reports that Peter “followed Him at a distance.” (Mark 14:54)
Most Christ-followers have experienced some form of Good Friday doubt—that overwhelming fear that maybe we’ve gotten it all wrong, maybe we’ve wasted our time, maybe all we’ve worked for and believed in is meaningless. Most have been through a time or two when we’ve cautiously followed Jesus at a distance.
The good news is that Easter is just a few days away. The good news is that, like Peter, we are always given another chance to tell Jesus that we love him.
Thinking of you all during Holy Week, and wishing you a blessed Easter with friends and family, and in the presence of the Risen Lord.
From The Book of Common Prayer, for Holy Saturday:
O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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