It would probably be true to say that not many of us will be unscathed by a betrayal or a hurt from a friend. Over the course of our lives most of us would have at some point been let down, hurt or betrayed by a friend. I know I have. Sometimes unintentionally, sometimes intentionally. It can come in the form of public rejection or attack. At other times it is a subversive and quiet or maybe mean things are said for our ears only. Whatever the motive or reason, it has hurt. Whether a public or private act, it hurts.
As we lead into Easter, I have wondered how Jesus felt as first Judas publically betrays Him, and then Peter away from Jesus also denies Him. Jesus knew that Judas would be the one to turn him in, stating at the Last Supper that one of those closest to Him would betray Him. But still that must have hurt. That after walking alongside Jesus – seeing His nature, His love and compassion, the miracles even, that it would not be enough to stop Judas betraying Him. That would have hurt.
But I feel what must have hurt even more was Peter. Peter with his fierce loyalty to Jesus. Peter with his confidence in His love for Jesus. Protecting Jesus in the Garden, cutting off a soldiers ear. Following His voice and being the only one to get out of the boat and walk on water. Fierce in his faith. Yet, in dark hours leading up to Jesus crucifixion, he denied knowing Jesus. Self preservation yes, out of fear, yes, but betrayal still.
At the end of the day, we all fail. We all can cause hurt to those around us. But, because of Easter, because of Jesus we are forgiven. After His resurrection, Jesus forgives and restores Peter by asking Him three times how much did Peter love Him. 3 times for the 3 times the rooster crowed.
Forgiveness. Redemption. Restoration.
Forgive us Lord when we have hurt or betrayed others. And help us to extend grace and forgiveness to those who have hurt us. For Christ’s sake. AMEN.