I didn’t sleep a wink. I couldn’t. I felt so awful. Sick in the pit of my stomach. Those words he had said to me kept going round my head. “Tonight, before the cock crows, you’ll deny you’ve ever known me.” I couldn’t believe it! Me, Peter, the one he’d nicknamed Rocky, deny Jesus? I’d never deny Jesus. Never. As if I could. He was the man who had given me purpose. Life was so exciting when he was around. I’d made lots of mistakes, but he forgave every one – amazing really. How could I ever deny the man who’d turned my life upside down? Who’d allowed me to share in the greatest adventure ever? I couldn’t!
But I did. Three times. Swore I didn’t have the faintest idea who he was. And then he looked at me. He wasn’t angry; he was reproachful. Disappointed. If I’m honest, that’s worse. I was devastated. I couldn’t believe I’d let Jesus down. I’d been so full of it. So full of good words and good intentions. But I couldn’t back them up with my actions. I was so ashamed of myself, I ran out and wept. Wept like I’ve never wept before.
Friday was even worse. When Jesus needed his friends most, we deserted him – all of us, except John and some of the women in our group. It was fear that kept me away. What if they got me too and treated me the way they treated him? The one place I wanted to be was by Jesus’ side – showing him that he could still depend on me and my support, yet I was too much of a coward.
So I had to rely on others to keep me posted. And the news got worse and worse as the day wore on. First, they told me that he’d been put on trial for blasphemy, that the authorities wanted his blood; then, I heard about the beating, the insults, the scourging; and then they told me he’d been sentenced to death. Crucifixion. A death so horrible that Roman citizens are spared such awful treatment. Finally, I heard the news I thought I would never hear – he’d died.
Jesus. The miracle maker. My hero. My captain. My leader. The one who was going to save us all from oppression. Dead.
I was numb. Devastated. Didn’t believe it. My hopes were snuffed out with him. What was I going to do now? Where would I go?
Did you hear that I actually cut a man’s ear off on Thursday night? One of the party who came to arrest Jesus. The man had it coming, if you asked me, but still, it wasn’t a very clever thing to do. But Jesus healed him there and then. That’s the kind of guy he was. That’s why I couldn’t believe that he’d died. You see, a man who could heal people in the blink of an eye. A man who could stop a storm. A man who could raise the dead. Well, that sort of man could save himself couldn’t he? He couldn’t be dead? So, why did he let them do that to him? Why did he let them kill him?