My name was different before I met Jesus. I was different. He gave me a new name, Peter, the rock.
We were preparing for Passover, the anniversary of the time where we were spared death, where death passed our people by.
It was a celebration. We knew who Jesus was and we were sure we knew why he had come. Didn’t the people echo my hope as we entered Jerusalem, “Hosanna hosanna!” It’s time, our victor is here. Another Moses to lead us out of our slavery to Rome, God’s own prophet to give us back our independence. We would once again be a nation of people under the living God.
I thought I understood that night as he washed our feet. “Not my feet alone, but all of me”, I said. And I ate the bread and drank the wine He gave me.
And I was the one who chopped off the ear of the soldier in the garden. I was so sure the time had come to fight. Mustn’t we fight for God’s plan? Hadn’t he come to soldier a new covenant?
But he rebuked me. Hadn’t I seen him master of nature? Hadn’t I seen him master of spirits? Hadn’t I seen him filled with zeal tossing the vile out of the temple, withering trees to death? This was my leader, a fire kindled to action and I was ready to follow. And then… rebuked?
And He let himself be taken away. Had I understood nothing? I thought he was the son of God. How could he be if he was in chains? Surely God would never allow his own son to be treated thus.
I didn’t realize how deep my doubt and confusion went until I heard the rooster’s crow. And then I remembered, a lifetime away at the dinner, where I had sworn to follow him wherever that meant.
Even as I stood in the crowd as they screamed, “Crucify him, crucify him!” I looked at the same faces who had hailed him with Hosanna just days ago! And there was I among them, Peter, the denier, the rock who had become as changing as the sand in the wind.
Amidst the horrible words, “Crucify him, crucify him”, I saw what it had all meant. This fight was not for our salvation from Rome, but from sin, not for the wholeness of a national kingdom but for His spiritual kingdom. And it was a fight that needed only one soldier, one sacrifice.
And I watched as He allowed his body to be broken and his blood spilled knowing that the Passover lamb must be made so for death to pass us by. For it is by his wounds that we are all healed.
And for death to spare me I must accept even this baptism and paint his blood on the door frame of my heart. And just as I accepted the bread and the wine so I must cry with sorrow and with the crowd, “Crucify him, crucify him.”