Thursday, April 1, 2010

Events of Holy Week Part 5--Holy Thursday/Maundy Thursday

(Be sure and check out the rest of the series - which I started on Palm Sunday).

When our children were small we'd love to read them the book entitled Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day...a day when everything went wrong in one young boy named Alexander's day. Well, Thursday and the dark hours of early Friday of Holy Week could be called PETER and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Certainly Good Friday was roughest on Jesus as He endured so much suffering, pain and eventually death on the cross...but for Peter, things were pretty bad.

First of all, during the Last Supper, in front of all his friends, Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Him 3 times (Luke 22:34). Ouch!

Then, after the Last Supper, Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives to pray...He specifically asks Peter and James and John to pray for Him. In Mark 14:37 Jesus specifically asks Peter..."Are you asleep? Could you not watch for one hour?" Ouch...again!

Next, when Judas comes with the crowd to betray Jesus, Peter (John 18:10) takes up a sword and cuts off one of the servants' ears...and then Jesus has to rebuke Peter, again, in essence, telling him that he is setting his sights on the things of men and not the things of God...the very rebuke Christ gave to Peter when he tried to rebuke Jesus after He told them He was going to die (Matthew 16:23).

Finally, and of course this is really more very early Friday than part of Thursday, but it fits with the flow of the worst 24 hours of Peter's life, he does in fact end up denying Christ 3 times...eventually even calling curses upon himself if it would be possible that he is lying about not knowing Jesus...then, of course, the cock crows...and think about it...every day for the rest of his life, Peter was awakened wherever he was by the crowing of the'd YOU like to be reminded every day of your worst failure?!

You'll recall that in Matthew 16, Peter before anyone else gets to it, confesses the truth that Jesus is God; that He is Messiah; that He is the Son of the Living God. And when Peter makes that confession, Jesus says upon that confession He will build His church...Jesus did NOT mean that upon PETER He would build the church...Peter is NOT the first POPE! But Jesus does say He will give the leaders of those who make the confession of Christ as Savior and Lord "the keys of the Kingdom."

Imagine what a failure Peter thought he was after the events of late Thursday/early Friday! Could he ever be restored? And here's where the different between regret and repentance show up so clearly. Judas failed too...but he was only filled with regret...remorse without hope. Peter failed, but was filled with repentance...honest acknowledgement of failure, but filled with a hope of forgiveness, love and restoration. When you fail, are filled with regret...or repentance.

U2 sings a song called "The First Time." For the first time, I feel love. Bono goes through all three Persons of the Trinity. Now I know some of you will freak out because Bono refers to the Holy Spirit in feminine terms (as does William Young in The Shack). But the fact is, there are times in Scripture when God allows Himself to be described in terms of a loving mother, though certainly it is ultimately orthodox to refer to the Holy Spirit as He...don't let Bono's poetic license freak you out so you miss the beauty of the song.

Imagine Peter, thinking about his confession of Christ as God, remembering the promise of receiving the keys of the Kingdom...and then considering all that in light of the horrible, no good, very bad day he has today...imagine his doubts, his struggles to feel hope and love and forgiveness...imagine...Peter, the apostle, going through the same things we go through when we fail.

Listen VERY carefully to this Song...the Holy Spirit helps, Jesus is a Brother when we're in need and though we are so often running away, He runs after us. The Father has a mansion with many rooms (Gospel of John), He has a rich man's cloak (Parable of the Prodigal Son--Luke 15)...and Peter feels as though he has left through the back door of the mansion and thrown away the key...he is broken...

...but Jesus raises from the dead and specifically shows up and restores He will us if we live in repentance and not merely regret.

If you can't understand EACH and EVERY word of the song...look up the do NOT want to miss this one.

There's always hope!

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