On this Holy Saturday, I’ve been reflecting a bit on the story of Jesus’ betrayal. Growing up, I always listened to the scripture readings with incredulity. How could Judas betray his teacher, his friend? How could Peter deny the living God, the Savior in the flesh? These were Jesus’ closest friends, the people he trusted with his teachings. Yet in the end, they all scattered, afraid for their own lives.
The older I get, the more I see myself in Judas, and find myself speaking the words of Peter. I hear myself zealous one moment, and utterly ignoring the call of God the next. I pass up the hungry on the street, and avoid the hurting and broken hearted because it’s convenient. I’ve come to the realization that I am Judas. I am Peter.
There is a song by King’s Kaleidoscope that has gripped my heart since the first time I heard it. It’s called “What have we done”, and it paints the picture of our hearts.
“Judas sold you for thirty, I’d have done it for less.”
“Peter denied you three times, I have denied you more.”
These words echo loudly in the darkness of my heart. They cut to my core, because they are completely true. I’m tempted to let this despair grip me - but I cannot help but find the grace in Judas and Peter’s stories. I can’t help but find the grace in mine.
You see, even as Jesus spoke of Judas’ betrayal, he ate with him. I have never really made that connection before. Jesus knew what Judas would do, yet he gave him the same covenant as the rest of the disciples. “This is my body, this is my blood, shed for YOU.”
And as he told Peter that he would deny him, he also spoke grace into his life. In Luke 22:31-32 we read:
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
When you have turned again - Jesus tells Peter that he will fall, but even then he is welcomed back.
That is why Good Friday is just that - good. Because even in the darkest hour, when the entire world and God himself had deserted Jesus, he spoke grace into the lives of his closest friends, and into our lives as well.