Holy Week Reflection: Tuesday (Luke 22:24-38)
How important to you is the keeping of a promise or keeping your word? What would you be prepared to do for friends or family? How does it feel to have let someone down that you care about?
In these interactions between Jesus and his disciples we see hints of what is to come. Jesus affirms them, telling them “You are the ones who have stood by me in my trials.” (v28). Sometimes we can take words of affirmation from someone we respect to heart. The disciples were no different, and for Peter it seems to have become some of what he defined himself by, his source of self-respect and identity.
Jesus knows Peter better than Peter knows himself. He prays for the weakness he anticipates in him. When Peter tells him “I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”, Jesus predicts the denials to come.
I am sure Peter really believed that he would stand by Jesus in all circumstances. Sometimes, however, others know us better than we know ourselves. And this is certainly the case with Jesus. We have the benefit of hindsight, of probably having heard this before, and we know where this will lead. I don’t think Peter was lying when he told Jesus that he was ready to stand by him. He just hadn’t anticipated how he would react in the circumstances that would lead him to behave differently. What must it have felt like when Peter came to realise how he had let Jesus down though?
Is there a time when you have been surprised, or disappointed, by your own behaviour? Sometimes circumstances arise that test us in ways we are not ready for. Jesus anticipated this. He tells Peter that he has prayed “when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus anticipates not only Peter’s upcoming failure and shame but the chance he will be given to redeem himself.
It is worth remembering that Jesus does not require perfection of us. He may still entrust us with the plans he has for us, even though we may let him and others down. In those circumstances, we must not wallow in the memory of our failures, but trust that he is still willing to entrust us with his plans for us.