Day 7 and 8 of 2 Weeks 2 the Cross: Matthew 26:47-56, 69-75
While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. A large mob, with swords and clubs, was with him from the chief priests and elders of the people. His betrayer had given them a sign: “The One I kiss, He’s the One; arrest Him!” So he went right up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.
“Friend,” Jesus asked him, “why have you come?”
Then they came up, took hold of Jesus, and arrested Him. At that moment one of those with Jesus reached out his hand and drew his sword. He struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his ear.
Then Jesus told him, “Put your sword back in its place because all who take up a sword will perish by a sword. Or do you think that I cannot call on My Father, and He will provide Me at once with more than 12 legions of angels? How, then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”
At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, as if I were a criminal, to capture Me? Every day I used to sit, teaching in the temple complex, and you didn’t arrest Me. But all this has happened so that the prophetic Scriptures would be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted Him and ran away.
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant approached him and she said, “You were with Jesus the Galilean too.”
But he denied it in front of everyone: “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
When he had gone out to the gateway, another woman saw him and told those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazarene!”
And again he denied it with an oath, “I don’t know the man!”
After a little while those standing there approached and said to Peter, “You certainly are one of them, since even your accent gives you away.”
Then he started to curse and to swear with an oath, “I do not know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
As Jesus was being secured by the soldiers sent to bring Him to an unlawful, secret trial, every one of His disciples fled. Not one was left standing beside Him. That night they had all shared a deeply meaningful Passover meal together. Jesus had washed their feet. He had prayed with them and for their love to unite them so the world would know that Jesus is God’s Son. But now, Jesus faced the coming crucifixion alone, because only He could bear the sins of the world.
Our family activity for Day 7, to help us remember how Jesus was arrested and that the disciples ran away, was playing Hide and Go Seek. This is a favorite game in our family. It is a beautiful reminder that even when we go and hide from God, He is always seeking our hearts, ready to receive us again. Most of the time, the kids can’t even stay hidden. They have to make their presence known because they want to be found. I’m sure that night, though all the disciples scattered, Jesus’ words continued to speak in their minds and hearts, replaying from their three years with the Lord. This is when they needed Truth the most.
Peter, as one of the three closest disciples with Jesus and the only person ever to walk on water, knew intimately the power and deity of Jesus. Yet, he was terrified at His Lord’s arrest. He hastily drew a sword and cut off a soldier’s ear, then later, crept into the courtyard to where Jesus was being detained and would be tried. He allowed his fear to overtake his faith, and when asked if he was one of Jesus’ disciples, he vehemently denied it. Three times he disavowed His Savior and his best friend, the last time becoming so upset he cursed and swore to make it stop. He was desperate.
Then, the rooster crowed. And, Peter knew what he had done.
He fled into the night, weeping bitterly.
As we read this passage of Scripture as a family, Jackson wanted to know why Peter was so upset. We talked about what it meant to deny someone. We also fast forwarded the story for Jackson to let him know that God restored Peter and forgave him. Peter’s testimony reminds us that we must cling to Jesus rather than thinking we can conquer fear on our own. And, when we fail, we can embrace God’s grace to help us stand again.
We made rooster hats to reinforce the lessons of Peter’s denial. They turned out pretty cute. 🙂