Scripture Reading: Matthew 26: 69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-18, 25-27
Grief is a powerful thing. It can cause you to experience a whole range of emotions and feelings including sadness, anger, denial, and regret and it’s seldom the same experience for everyone. Some people weep uncontrollably for the first 24 hours and some don’t shed a tear for weeks until the initial shock has worn off. It’s a period of coming to terms with the fact that someone you cared about is no longer with you. It’s a new normal where traditions are changed, days start and end differently, and anything that was left unsaid will remain that way. One can only imagine what those first 24 hours were like for the people closest to Jesus.
The Gospels really don’t share much about what happened on Saturday. There are some details given about the religious leaders’ reaction to the previous day’s events but silent on how the disciples processed what just happened. One cannot help but wonder what was going through Peter’s head on this day. One of Jesus’ most enthusiastic (and impulsive) followers, Peter was having to deal with denying Jesus three times while his friend and mentor was taken away to be murdered. He likely relived that moment over and over in his head, wishing he could take it all back. He may have wondered how things may have been different had he stood up for Jesus in his time of need. He may have even thought that maybe this all could have ended differently. Maybe, had he been it bit more heroic, could have saved Jesus and made a run for it. Grief does that. It makes you dwell on regrets for what you wish you should have done and think irrationally on what the ending outcome could have been. This probably was the case for Peter. He likely replayed that moment over and over in his head driving himself crazy in the process. All while feeling that he’ll never be able to take back what he had done and he would never see his friend again to tell him, “I’m sorry.”
The good news is, we know how the story ends for Peter and it’s not on this sad Saturday in history. Peter would go on to preach the Good News of Jesus with Holy Spirt-empowered boldness, write two books of the New Testament, and lead thousands of people to the gift of Christ’s salvation. In fact, he lived a life so bold and so unashamedly for Jesus that he would later be executed by being crucified upside down because that was the only way to silence him. This is because, as powerful as grief is, its power does not compare to that of grace. While grief causes you to focus on the “What if’s” and the “What I wish I didn’t do’s,” grace brings you back to who God meant for you to be. By grace, you are no longer defined by your mistakes and short-comings but you’re defined by God’s love and restoration.
This brings us back to Saturday. While we know how the story would change for Peter, on this day, that realization of who he would become had not reached him. As the body of his best friend laid in that tomb, he was outside of it living in a world of regret and shame. Little did he know that Sunday was one day away…
- The Bible does not say much about what Saturday was like for the disciples. What do you imagine it was like for them?
- Put yourself in Peter’s position. What do you think you would be feeling on this Saturday? Do you think you could have processed these feelings?
- How does Peter’s failure and ultimate redemption encourage you?