Was Jesus a reluctant Messiah? I'm not sure if this is the right word to use but we have in today's reading a clear hesitation to go to the cross.
The pain and suffering that he knew would come with this is evident in his time of prayer.
Luke brilliantly juxtapositions the initial willingness of Peter with the disinclination of Jesus on the Mount of Olives. We see that Peter's resolve melts under the heat of the moment just as Jesus predicts. Jesus, however, stands resolved before the Jerusalem leadership.
It also reminds me of the parable of the two sons which is contained only in Matthew's Gospel:
“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” (21:28-32a, NRSV)
In my best moments, I have kept to my integrity when facing the fire. However, I also know that these moments have been built on previous failures. There's no guarantee that I won't fail again.
Peter goes on to conquer his fears and to lead the church. He didn't allow his failure to define him but he did allow it to shape him. It shaped his resolve and it also shaped his grace.
On this Holy Thursday, I pray that I will stay firm in the faith and to offer the grace that I have so often received in my life. And no matter if you are feeling strong in the Lord or fallen in sin or somewhere in between, this passage offers good news today.
|This sculpture is from the English: Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family|
in Barcelona, Spain. Fascinating that this story is shared prominently not only in
the gospel but in art. Taken by Utente:MM