Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Look

People look at other people for many reasons. Today I was reflecting on what Jesus went through before his death on the cross for forgiveness of our sins and it brought to mind a passage about Jesus looking at one of the apostles.

The verse I am thinking of is Luke 22:61 - "The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter."

There was a reason for this. Jesus said to Peter at the last supper that Peter would deny his relationship with Christ three times before a rooster crowed. Peter was shocked by this and told Jesus that he would rather die with him than deny him. What Peter said is not recorded in Luke, but it is in Matthew 26:35 and Mark 14:31.

The painting is by Carl Bloch, a Danish artist from the late 1800's. It is titled "Peter's Betrayal".

Luke 22:54-62 gives the rest of the account of Peter's denying Jesus.

Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.

A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”

But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”

“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

I cannot imagine the feeling of pure dread that Peter had when he felt the eyes of Jesus on him when that rooster crowed. It is a horrible feeling to get caught doing something you know is wrong, but this was so much more than just a mistake. It is scary how easily a lie can come out of our lips no matter our best intentions.

Despite our sin filled selves there is good news! We don't have to live with the lies, the guilt, nor the ugliness that we create. As much as it saddens me that it had to happen this way, Jesus did die on the cross. As it was prophesied, he died on the cross for our sins. He was the ultimate sacrifice. His blood was spilled so we could have forgiveness.

He died, was buried, and he rose again all for us! Praise Jesus! Praise God's sacrifice of his Son for us! We are so unworthy of this gift, but God gives it freely anyways. Who does that? Someone who loves us. That is who!

I find it simply amazing that I am loved like that and my friends, that is the hope that I have in me. It is what gets me through my day. It makes me smile. It makes me sing. It makes me love others in return.