Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Have you ever wondered what Jesus was thinking about while on the cross? I don’t dare simplify it to one thought or conclusion. However, my answer dare not rob Christ of His humanity or divinity either. Jesus hung on the cross for six long hours. Shorter than many crucifixions, but still ample time for both His humanity and divinity to be on display. John 19:26 records Jesus’ statement to John and his mother on the cross, “Woman, here is your son.” to his mother and to John, “Here is your mother”. An often missed very sweet moment of humanity where Jesus’ love for His mother is seen by connecting her to the disciple He loved, John. We are told that John took Mary into his home and cared for her from that time on. It is also interesting that unlike many of the disciples, John lived for quite some time before being exiled to the island of Patmos around 95 AD. Plenty of time for John to care for Jesus’ mother until she was ushered into heaven with Christ.
We also see another glimpse of His humanity in his desire for something to drink. Possibly in order to clearly state, “It is finished!” This is his last statement and a powerful display of His divinity on the cross making full payment for our sin through His blood.
A simple caveat: While the rest of this article will focus on Christ’s thoughts towards humanity on the cross, I would never want these devotional thoughts to trivialize the unbelievable divine transaction on the cross. The drops of blood mixed with sweat in the garden of Gethsemane make clear the anguish of Christ as He considered bearing the weight and wrath of God for the sin of the world. It is clearly a divine mystery to ponder the agony experienced by Christ as justice was accomplished at the cross. Praise Him forever. But Jesus’ humanity and divinity were in perfect union here on the earth. Even on the cross.
As I look at the Crucifixion and the events leading up to it, I am struck by the timeline. While we don’t have the exact timing given to us expressly, it is very reasonable to assume through a unified look at the gospels that the time between Peter’s denial of Christ and Jesus peering across a courtyard into Peter’s eyes, heart and very soul is only a matter of hours.
I can’t get this out of my head. Jesus went to the cross with the darkest moment of Peter’s life on His mind … at least in part. He felt the sting of betrayal multiple times in the moments leading up to the cross and yet His heart of compassion and forgiveness was on full display in His request to the Father in the stead of those mocking Him, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” and to the thief crucified alongside Him, “Today you will be with Me in paradise”.Pastor Matt Driesbach
There truly is such beauty in the heart of Jesus. Too much for me to comprehend. Jesus loved Peter. Peter betrayed Jesus. Yet in the midst of this, it is safe to assume that Jesus is moved with compassion towards Peter. We can read of Jesus’ loving restoration of Peter in John 21. Think about this for a minute. Imagine the scene. Peter is scared, ashamed, weak. His eyes meet the eyes of the one he has just denied even knowing. And yet, Jesus is moved by love. While the breadth and complexity of all that was pondered on the cross could never be expressed by human efforts, I am confident in this; Jesus carried the darkest moment of Peter’s life to the cross and it was paid for just hours later when He declared, “It is finished!”
If you know Jesus today, that same declaration was made over your sin! Think about the fact that Christ actively died for your sin. Not the generic sins of the world that may or may not occur. He took the darkest moments of your life to the cross and finished them, paid the debt that you owed. I can’t imagine how Peter felt … the lowest moment of His life. Or maybe I can. I have felt the sting of my own darkness. The sense that not only could God not love or forgive me, but why would anyone? Have you been through a season like this? Maybe you are in one now. The darkness is overwhelming. Jesus knows the sin(s) you go back to … the thing you view, do, say or think. Yet declared over your darkness is this: “IT IS FINISHED!”
Our disbelief is what separates us from this truth. Our disbelief that anyone could ever suffer at the hands of our sin and at the same time move towards us with compassion. But this is exactly what Jesus does on the cross! The wonderful and horrible, the beautiful and tragic cross of Christ. The beauty of Christ’s love is deep and mysterious … knowing no bounds.
This Easter weekend, my hope and my earnest prayer is that you would allow for some time to ponder this incredible display of love in stark contrast to the depth of your own/my own darkness and come to the unimaginable conclusion that that display of limitless love was for you…was for me. It is there we find the gospel as we are dragged to the depths of our own hopelessness only to be resurrected to heights unimaginable by the majesty of Christ…IT IS FINISHED.
The gift of music in Spirit and in truth ministers to me on a regular basis, I invite you to click these few favorite songs of mine to add to your pondering this Easter weekend.
Yet to this I hold, my sin has been defeated Jesus now and ever is my plea Oh the chains are released, I can sing, "I am free!" Yet not I, but through Christ in me.
There was a moment when the lights went out When death had claimed its victory The King of Love had given up His life The darkest day in history There on a cross they made for sinners For every curse His blood atoned One final breath and it was finished But not the end we could have known For the earth began to shake And the veil was torn What sacrifice was made As the heavens roared: All hail King Jesus! All hail the Lord of Heaven and earth! All hail King Jesus! All hail the Savior of the world!