Peter on Saturday …
Peter woke up that Saturday with a dull ache between his eyes, like the ones he used to have after too much fishing and too much wine. Through the cobwebs of consciousness, his mind began to piece together why the pain was there. First, came the memory of the scene around the fire: the furtive glances, the taunting inquiries, and his cussing denial that he even knew Jesus.
Before his soul could absorb that indictment of himself, his memory resurrected his boasts. “Even if everyone else leaves you and denies you, Jesus, I never will.” Cringe.
A kaleidoscope of pictures flashed: glimpses of Jesus carrying his cross seen through the mass of bodies gathered for the impromptu parade; the Roman soldiers yanking a stranger out of the crowd when Jesus collapses; and everyone pushing for the entertainment of seeing a human being go from life to death.
The sounds – the memory of the sounds, Peter thought, would haunt him forever. Iron struck iron, a voice shrieked in pain, words mumbled from the cross, “Father, forgive them…”
Then Peter’s memory seized the most humiliating moment of all: running away from Golgotha, running toward the home of a friend, running first into James, then Andrew, Matthew, and Thomas. He had been with these ordinary men when they did miraculous things. But on this Friday, the miracles had dried up. Now they were all tossing and turning with troubled sleep, waiting for Roman soldiers to burst in, arrest them, and crucify them.
It was the Sabbath. They couldn’t travel. They could only stay out of sight.
So Peter lifted himself from the floor, with the weight of humiliation and failure making his head feel like it weighed 666 pounds. Matthew, already awake, shot him a look. Peter ducked his head. He was supposed to be the leader. He was supposed to know what to do.
All he could do on this day was wait. Back in Galilee, there was his boat and his nets. He would go back to being a simple fisherman again. He would do his best to forget he ever heard of Jesus. He would rid himself of the ridiculous notion that he could a “fisher of men.”
He would start back to his old life on Sunday.
In the deeps of Hell, Jesus smiled. There would be a surprise for Peter on Sunday.
And for you.