Holy Week- Thursday April 1 – THE ROOSTER CROWS AGAIN
Thursday April 1 – THE ROOSTER CROWS AGAIN
“31 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.
70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”
74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed.” – Matthew 26:31-35, 42, 69-74 (NIV)
When I was in Grade 9, I joined the Outer’s Club. I think this surprised my parents because the last thing you could say I was was the “outdoorsy type”. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the outdoors, just as long as I can go back indoors at the appropriately scheduled time. I suspect the reason I joined the club was probably because there were some girls that I liked that were going on the trip, and I think my friend Joe was going as well, so it seemed like a good idea.
To be honest, there is not much I remember about the trip. I did learn a lot and what I did enjoy the most was the fact that we rode our bikes to the location. The surprise of the trip was on the ride home. I was probably going way too slow and couldn’t keep up with my friends, because I ended up riding with a girl named Brooke (her name changed to protect her innocence). Now, Brooke and I were from different social circles and I didn’t know much about her at all. What I do remember is that we rode back together for what must have been a very long bike ride but felt like a few minutes. As we began to talk, I was amazed at how much we were connecting. Our chat flew by and this was probably the first real and long conversation I had ever had with a member of the opposite sex. As we arrived back at the school, we said goodbye and wished each other a good rest of the weekend.
Over that Sunday I thought about Brooke and was quite taken with the fact we had made a connection. I honestly thought I had made a new friend out of my social circle and was looking forward to getting to know her better.
Monday came and when I arrived at school I was eagerly looking to find Brooke to say hello. When we met in the hallway and I said “Hello!”, she looked at me and, as she was with some friends who were in Grade 10, ignored me and then continued on with her friends.
She blew me off.
I couldn’t believe it. Maybe this was all in my mind that we had actually made a connection and had started a friendship (and you must remember at this point I was not thinking romantically about Brooke, I was thinking I had made a real connection as a friend). When she seemed less than interested to see me, in fact, embarrassed that I had said hello to her in front of her cool friends, it did make my heart sink a little.
I felt like a nobody.
A music geek.
I am sure many of you can recall stories from the playground in elementary school or in the halls in high school where you were betrayed by someone. Or, even worse, some of you might remember other kids pretending to be your friends and then when you least expect it, pull the rug of truth out from under you and pretend they don’t even know you. It hurts.
And yet, Jesus knew that arguably His most devout disciple would deny having any knowledge of Jesus three times before the rooster crowed.
It didn’t hurt Jesus so much as He knew it had to happen, in order to fulfil scripture.
Or did it?
I always wonder if Peter’s denial of knowing Jesus, hurt Him deeply. I guess it doesn’t hurt as much if you know it is going to happen.
Poor Peter. His passion for loving Jesus was second to none. If there was any disciple that would continue Jesus’ work after the crucifixion it was Peter. And yet, he too ended up responding like we all do when faced with a public investigation into our faith lives.
“Oh, are you a Christian? Are you one of those Christians who are anti maskers and believe the virus is all a hoax?”
“Do you believe in those tele-evangelists who prey on seniors to get them to give up their life savings for God and buy themselves expensive planes?”
“Are you the ones who hate the LGBTQ?”
“Why are you always so judgemental?”
When the magnifying glass is put on us, and the lamplight during the interrogation blinds us, we become embarrassed to call ourselves Christ followers.
It is hard to NOT be lumped into the crowd of “believers” who spew hate, division and conspiracy for conspiracy’s sake. It is easier sometimes to simply play down the fact that we are Jesus followers in order to please people. If you are a people pleaser, you will find it most difficult to live a sacrificial life for God. For me that was one of the first “gods” I had to slay as I began my ministry at James Street.
When I am asked about what I do professionally, I would always say “I am a worship pastor” which led to some very blank stares. I then tried to explain what the role entailed and sometimes the look would change to just a slightly blank stare. I have never had anyone question why I would be a worship pastor or why I believe in a God that is simply a collection of fairy tales and bad psychology. Most times people are keenly interested in what I do. I then get to tell them about all of the amazing things I get to do, see my excitement and they get excited to hear more. I love it when it becomes infectious!
But there are times, when my ‘audience” might be antagonistic to me because of my faith. In those moments it is easier sometimes to say that I am just a musician.
And the rooster crows yet again.
Jesus, in the midst of knowing what was going to happen, and even praying in the garden for possibly a change in plans, prayed “Your will be done” to His Father. He knew that this journey would not be easy, but He did it for His friends.
He did it for a world who wanted nothing to do with Him.
When I think of the pain Jesus endured, I get embarrassed and overwhelmed that I would deny His presence in my life just to be accepted by others. I think about how my response must break God’s heart, and God is reminded again that humans are fickle and have very limited faith spans.
If Peter the devout disciple could do it, then it means we all can.
And some of us can admit we have.
We live in a time when the flock of God no longer need to be scattered but brought together. To overlook our petty differences and work together to show how much God loves us. We need to be bold, sharing God’s love with gentleness and respect as opposed to treating it like a cheap consumer good to be flogged.
Don’t let the rooster crow again for you. Show God’s love to others in how you treat one another and, most importantly, those you don’t know.
Be kind, overflowing with patience and empathy and allow the Holy Spirit to give you the right words and right actions when you doubt yourself.
Trust in the One who loves you with arms stretched out wide. He understands and still loves you.
Draw closer to Jesus as you remember the journey to Golgotha.
Just a reminder that tonight we will be on Zoom at 6:30 p.m. and we will see you on either Facebook or YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET on Good Friday.