I see you, Peter, alone in the dark. From the look on your face, I can tell that the rooster’s crow is still reverberating through your soul. You’re scared. I understand, because I’m out here too. We’re both upset, because just inside those doors over there, Jesus is in chains. God is in manacles, and suddenly nothing makes any sense.
We’ve seen Jesus do wonders. He’s raised people from the dead, calmed raging seas, and fed thousand upon thousands of people with just a few fish and loaves of bread. He’s God. Nothing is impossible for him… or so we thought. Nothing adds up anymore. We’ve seen Jesus cast out demons, but now he’s getting beat up by ordinary men.
How could this be happening? We know we should be brave, but everything we thought we knew just went completely upside-down crazy. We’re completely freaking out. So now we’re out here in the dark, confused and scared, while our Savior is inside in chains.
I don’t know how my own story ends, Peter. Like you, I don’t know what happens next to me or my friends. What happens after the phone call that changes everything? What happens when the doctor walks in with that weary look on his face, and the chilling reality hits home before he has a chance to speak? What happens next when everything I prayed for didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped or planned, and all the while heaven seems silent? Suddenly, the friend and Savior I’ve walked with for years seems to have simply gone.
I don’t know what happens next to me or my friends, but there’s one thing I do know, Peter. I know what happens to you.
Make no mistake, you are Peter, though I know you’re not feeling very “Peter” right now. Remember when Jesus gave you that name? Before you met Jesus, you’d just been Simon, an honest guy who tried to make a living fishing outside a sleepy little town. You never expected your life to amount to much else, but suddenly Jesus showed up beside your boat. He gave you an invitation that would change everything. “Follow me,” he said, “and I will make you a fisher of men.” After that, he gave you the name “Peter” because it means “rock.” Jesus told everyone that you of all people would be the rock on which he would build his church, and Hell itself wouldn’t be able to prevail against it. And for a while you actually believed it, didn’t you? But now you’re not feeling very “Peter.” Right now, you probably wish you weren’t even Simon. It’s oh so tempting to trade lives with almost anyone else. But I know you’ll get through this, Peter.
What you don’t yet realize is that our Savior won’t stay in chains. It’s dark as Hell right now, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Trust me, you’re not going to like what happens to Jesus this afternoon. He’ll trade his chains of iron for the chains of death, and they’ll barely have time to put his body in a tomb before the start of the Sabbath. So this darkness that we’re standing in right now, in a lot of ways it will only seem to get darker. And it won’t get better right away, not today, not even tomorrow, but then Sunday morning something amazing will happen.
You see, this all had to happen, Peter. Jesus tried to tell you before, but I know, you and me, we both have a hard time getting what’s happening when we’re in the middle of it. Just remember, our Savior may be in chains, but he’s still in control. Yes, Jesus is in chains, bloody and beaten, and he’ll make his way to a cross to be crucified in just a few short hours, but he let them put him in chains. He’s wearing them right now because he loves us.
In a few days, when the sun comes up on Sunday morning, he’s going to break the even larger chains of sin and death, so that nothing will ever separate us from him again. And you’ll be Peter again. You’ll see him in the flesh after he comes back from the dead, and you’ll go on to be his rock and lay the foundation of his church. You’ll always be Peter, and you’ll never deny him again.
I just wanted to tell you all that, because I know it’s hard right now. I’m scared too, but I have one thing going for me that you don’t. When this is all over, you and your friends will write a whole new section of the Bible. Do you want to know what will be my favorite part? God will speak to John in a very special way, and John will write down everything he learns in a book we’ll call “Revelation.” In Revelation, John will share his vision of how Jesus, the Lamb of God, will one day wipe away all of our tears, and it will never be dark ever again. So it’s going to be okay for both of us, Peter. That’s the good news… the ultimate good news.
Our Savior is in chains, and we don’t know what to do. In the dark cold morning air, we’re afraid of what will happen next. But morning’s coming, Peter. We’ll get through this, because Jesus is about to break his chains. Hang in there, Peter, and I promise I will too. We can do this, because when Jesus’ life ends later today, it will really just be the beginning. The sun will rise on an empty tomb, and you and I will live with him forever.
Do you know someone who’s struggling? Consider sharing this story with them. We all sometimes need the reminder that the sun will rise, and that our friends are still with us.
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