This week, I’m looking forward to putting an extra focus specifically on the work of Christ on the cross. Yesterday, Andrew pointed out something about that earth-shattering day that really a struck cord with me. Imagine the emotional pain that Jesus experienced when the rooster crowed. “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.” (Luke 22:61a)
He’d Looked Into These Eyes Before.
In that moment, the Savior looked into the eyes of a man He had poured so much love, time, and energy into over the past several years. Eyes that danced in excited surprise at the huge catch of fish Jesus orchestrated when they first met. (Luke 5). Eyes that were dark with fear as he walked on water toward his Master. (Matt. 14) Eyes that cried tears of joy when his mother-in-law was healed by Jesus. (Matt. 8) Eyes that just hours before had been bright with courage as he swore to follow Jesus even to death. (Matt. 26) Now these eyes looked back at his Savior in extreme shame. Peter was remembering their earlier conversation. “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:34)
Imagine How This Would Hurt.
I often think of how sad this was on Peter’s part to be so afraid of dying that he would swear that they were not friends. I’ve empathized with the extreme guilt and regret he must have felt after the fact. But I haven’t really considered the blow this added to what was already an excruciating day for Jesus.
Imagine going through the most extreme pain you can think of, for a crime you never committed. You know that in a matter of hours, after more suffering, you will die. Intensify those last hours of life further by imagining that you can see your best friend standing by as all this transpires, telling people he/she doesn’t know you. Wouldn’t it somehow help you to bear this burden if your dearest friend was weeping with you, praying for you, encouraging you? But instead they shrink in fear and pretend to be a stranger.
This is but one small piece of the pain that Jesus experienced on my behalf on the cross. He was abandoned and denied by someone He had given everything for, while bearing unthinkable physical torture. He did this and so much more to set me free from sins I deserved to be punished for. I am so often like Peter, and worse. I have been afraid to share the gospel out of fear of what others will think. I have not lived my life as one bought with a price. Yet for these and all my other sins, Jesus experienced deep physical and emotional pain and gave His life. Hallelujah, what a Savior!