Thursday after Oculi
Scripture: St. Luke 21:37—22:38 (NKJV)
21:37 And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet. 38 Then early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.
22:1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people. 3 Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. 4 So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude.
7 Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. 8 And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.”
9 So they said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare?”
10 And He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. 11 Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”‘ 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.”
13 So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover.
14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. 21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” 23 Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.
24 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. 25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. 28 But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. 29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
35 And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?”
So they said, “Nothing.”
36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37 For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.”
38 So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.”
And He said to them, “It is enough.”
“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
It is the night in which our Lord was betrayed. Jesus, as omniscient God, knew that Peter would fall. He knew that he would deny Him three times. He warned Peter that it was so. Peter swore it would not happen. It happened. In the moment of truth, Peter lacked the courage to confess his faith in the Lord to a servant girl.
We all fall short. And how often have we heard someone say, “You can’t do thus-and-such! If you do, it will destroy your witness!” Often such voices are trying harder to get us to bow to Victorian social acceptability than to the Word of the Lord. But even if we are caught red-handed sinning, is our witness over? No. It just takes a different form.
It was so with Peter. He fell. His fall is recorded in Scripture. For centuries now, Christians have, and continue to, catch him red-handed. His witness changes to an example of repentance, forgiveness, and restoration. When you are caught sinning, or you catch yourself, do not make excuses. Plead guilty. Repent. And so let your witness be your testimony of a wonderful Savior who forgives you, me, even Peter, and who puts us back into action. In this way, our Lord can use us to strengthen others.
We pray: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me. Then, forgiven, have Your use of me to point others to Your forgiveness. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.