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Lent - Day 25

Day 25  Wednesday



That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1: 3).


Matthew 27: 3-10
Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priest and the elders, saying, “I have sinned against innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and went out and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. Therefore, that field is has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Thus it was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for a potter’s field, as the Lord directed me” [cf. Zec. 11:13].
Acts 1: 15-20
In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) For it is written in the book of Psalms, “May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it.” (Ps. 69: 25).


In a rush of loyalty Peter drew his sword to fight off Jesus’ arresters. Before the night was over, he hadn’t the courage to admit to a serving maid his faith in Jesus. The bombastic personality of Peter was on full display that final night. The Rock turned to mush. As someone once noted about the absurdity of Peter’s denying oath: he swore to God he didn’t know God!
John’s account takes us deeper into the devastating nature of this wilting. We recall that earlier in John 18, when the mob said they sought Jesus, he replied, “I am” and they fell to the ground for the power of his affirmation. Just a few verses later, Peter is asked if he is one of Jesus’ disciples. He replies “I am not.” Literally, the words are “Not, I am,” or ouk eimi. The contrast could not be starker. Jesus is pure I am: light, life, love, being. Peter, in denying Jesus, negates his very self! Who are you now Peter? NOT I am. Peter disowned Jesus trying to save his own skin. But to cut oneself off from Jesus is to cancel out one’s very life. It is to lose oneself.  
It is no wonder that another gospel tells us that after the rooster crowed, Peter “went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22: 62). In stepping away from Jesus, Peter had stepped away from life itself.


Simon Peter Video

Oh Lord, the words said that I can never get back!
The silence when I should have spoken for someone!
The moment for me to stand passed me by.
The hurt I caused; the pain I failed to prevent.
Fear ruled me. My choice for
Self-preservation. Control. Saving Face. Freedom.
I got none of those.
I am ashamed. I am enslaved to my fears.
The life drains out of me, and I am helpless to stop it.
Seizing “me” made me a shell of a person. 
Worse, I trained the life out of others.
I now weep bitter tears.
The rooster crows. Time is up.
I am too little too late. Again.
And I know I cannot too quickly resolve
The crisis, turn the story, claim the victory.
I am before you this day a full-fledged Peter at dawn.
Look upon me and see the truth of who you called.
These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20: 31).



To deny God is to negate oneself. I once heard a preacher say, “Think of the absurdity of Peter’s denial: Peter swore to God that he didn’t know God! He didn’t want to be where he was, with everything falling apart. He didn’t want even to exist anymore with Jesus being taken away and others accusing him menacingly. So he went to the place of non-sense. The “Not me” of his denial became the “Not I am” of losing himself in denying Jesus. Declaring “I don’t know him!” was equivalent to canceling his own life.
Raniero Cantalamessa describes the self-destroying nature of our denials of Christ:
“By refusing to glorify God, man himself becomes ‘deprived of the glory of God.’ Sin offends God, that is, it saddens him greatly, but only in so far as it brings death to man whom he loves; it wounds his love. . . .
Sin leads to death . . . the ‘state’ of death, that is precisely what has been called ‘mortal illness,’ a state of chronic death. In this state the creature desperately tends to return to being nothing but without succeeding and lives therefore as if in an eternal agony. . . . the creature is obliged by One stronger than himself to be what he does not consent to be, that is dependent on God, and his eternal torment is that he cannot get rid of either God or of himself. . . . He would wish to be left free to return to nothingness. . . . because he does not want to be what he is, dependent on God. . . . this is the way to pure desperation.” (Raniero Cantalamessa, Life in Christ, 1990, pp. 28-29).
Such as the bitter agony Peter experienced that night, and that we, if we resist the truth of Christ which we know, will experience all our lives before we turn back to him. 


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