Peter: The look
He looked at me. Right at me.
It was not a look of disgust or anger or even rebuke. It was a
look that just said, "I know."
The hours and days after that are so painful that even today
they are hard to talk about. The shame, the fear, the utter sadness that
overwhelmed me then comes flooding back in the memory today.
In the days following, I thought about how he had looked me in
the face and said, "When you are converted, strengthen your brethren." At the
time, I thought: " 'WHEN I'm converted?' What does he think I have been doing
the last three and a half years? I gave up my family, my house and my business.
Could anyone be 'converted' if it wasn't me? What more could I possibly do?"
When he told me I would deny him, I was so brash and
self-confident. Others may do that, I said, but I never would. So sure was I
that this was true. So sure I was that I was the greatest disciple. So sure I
was that mine was the place at his right hand. So sure I was that I would even
die for him!
It was only a matter of hours really when he gave me the look.
It wasn't long, just a glance really. But how that look has changed my life.
A few weeks later by the lake, he asked me if I loved him. Not
the kind of love that we might have for friends, but completely devoted love. A
love that meant I would do anything for him. Remembering that look, all I could
speak of was my affection for him. I could not go down that path again unless I
was sure... completely sure of my love.
Now he is gone. It has only been a little over a month since
that night, but what a month. I have begun to understand much of what he said
that I did not understand before. Most of all, I have discovered that all of
this is not about me, but him. It is not my glory that is important, but his.
I was so afraid that night, but not today. Today, I feel his
strength rising up within me. They can mock me, beat me and even kill me. But
they cannot take from me my faith and conviction. In the end, they cannot take
my life but for a time.
So today I must speak. It is the feast day, so the temple will
be filled. I must do what I did not do that night. I must proclaim him to be the
Son of God. I must tell people that the Kingdom is coming. I must tell them that
I am his servant. I must depend on his strength to get me through this because I
have learned so well that this strength does not come from me.
I must remember the look.
(Refs: Luk 22:32,61,62; Mar 9:33,34; Joh 21:15-17; Acts 2)