The story of the cross can become so familiar to us that we forget how those in the story did not have omniscient knowledge of what was coming. What we understand from a long distance away was not a complete picture for them. It’s a good exercise to hear the story as if for the first time and to imagine what it felt like to watch the final hours of Jesus’ life unfold. It’s also good to listen to his struggle as if it were my own-because at some point in time, I have been where Peter finds himself in the dark and early moments of Friday.
Here is a monologue that attempts to come alongside the disciple Peter as regret washes over him moments after the rooster crows.
I have never wanted to turn back time as much as I desperately want to rewind the last hour of this day. I would trade a lifetime of happiness if I could take back the words I’ve said, fears that gripped me and pride that blinded me.
Jesus warned me. Gave me the specifics of this failure. But I thought it was impossible. He told me exactly what would happen and I didn’t believe him. He looked at me with the deepest compassion and said that before a rooster crowed not once, but twice, I would deny knowing him three times. When I protested his prediction, I had no idea that an evening spent celebrating the Passover with our friends would turn into a violent upheaval of all I’d devoted myself to for three years.
It all happened so fast and none of it makes sense. I mean, I know Jesus is not exactly buddies with the Jewish leaders, but the people love him and he has never invited the wrath of the Roman officials. Now, everyone’s talking treason and the last time I caught a glimpse of him, his face was bloody and swollen, and he had been beaten.
What is hardest for me to believe is that I could betray my faithful friend so abruptly. One minute I announce to everyone that he will always be my leader, and moments later, I am so afraid his fate will become mine, that I turn my back on him to protect myself. I don’t know how he will ever trust me after all this. I don’t know how I can live with the guilt of failing him when he needed me most. I don’t know how to bear the crow of a rooster ever again.