I’ve got to be honest, I absolutely hate the story at the end of Matthew. I fully recognize that Jesus’ death and resurrection are what make life possible for me, and am grateful beyond words for it. But what He endured is so painful for me to picture. Matthew 26:57-68 breaks my heart on several levels.
We have Jesus arrested and taken to a bogus trial by the pastors of the day. The whole thing is illegal and a sham, and a total set up. How do people who work so hard to follow God ever get to this point? How do they get to where they are this desperate? They bring in lying witnesses to tell false stories, and even then can’t come up with enough to convict Jesus. Why didn’t someone, anyone, stand up and say “This is wrong?” It scares me to think about it. These guys were so enamored with THEIR power, THEIR plans, THEIR dreams that they missed the One they claimed to follow. Jesus was there, in the flesh, and they missed Him. Beyond that, they spit in His face and slapped Him and made fun of Him. They’ve lost it. A Pharisee should NEVER have acted like this, no matter what it was that made them so mad. They went over the edge. What in my life is something I am so passionate about, so worried about, so desperate to hold on to, that it could take me over the brink like this?
Secondly, you’ve got Peter. He has run from Jesus, like a coward. He has screwed up again. His thoughts are swirling in his head, and his world is coming apart. He can only follow from a distance, too cowardly to take a stand with Jesus. So he sits in the shadows with his enemies and watches God’s plan unfold, too far away to be of any use, but close enough to suffer in his heart as it happens. So often I play the coward and pull myself out of God’s plans, effectively neutralizing myself and being completely useless. My sin and fear can take me down so fast, and unless I take a stand with Jesus publicly, I won’t get it back. Unfortunately, the story gets worse for Peter before it gets better. More on that part tomorrow.
Finally, there is Jesus. My Hero. My Savior. The One who loves me all the time. Being falsely accused. Being made fun of by people who are far beneath Him. Being misquoted, misunderstood, and mistreated. He is slapped by hands He created, and spit on by mouths He formed decades earlier. These tongues that are so quick with hate were created by Him to speak love. His creation has turned on Him, and He must take it. My heart breaks for Him in love and sympathy, until I realize that I am just as guilty of all these things. And He sits in my office now with me, quietly loving me just as He loved them. His strength in these times is unbelievable and beyond my comprehension.
What an amazing God we serve! To weave such a complex story, and bring such joy and beauty from it. He is amazing and powerful! Spend some time today worshiping this God, because He is so incredibly worth it!