Friday, May 09, 2008

One Look

The same eyes that he had looked into numerous times and yet at that moment they carried a different message.

Luke 22:31-34
31"Simon, Simon, behold,Satan demanded to have you,that he might sift you like wheat, 32but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again,strengthen your brothers." 33Peter said to him, "Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death." 34Jesus said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me."

Luke 22: 54-62

54Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, "This man also was with him." 57But he denied it, saying, "Woman, I do not know him." 58And a little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them." But Peter said, "Man, I am not." 59And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, "Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean." 60But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about." And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, "Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times." 62And he went out and wept bitterly.

We want to believe that there was judgement in that look, an "I told you so" or "I'm so disappointed in you". And yet, I believe that within those eyes was a look of deep compassion and love. This was Christ's last teaching moment for Peter, the last lesson to impart before His death. All the judgement that Peter felt in his failure was of his own creation. Christ looked not to condemn but to love, to remind Peter of all His words. Oh Peter would stumble and fall, his failure would be public and piercing, but redemption was promised, and a greater redemption than Peter could even imagine.

I like to theorize what Peter felt and thought in that moment. Humiliation, fear, and maybe even a jab at his pride. For it was pride that Jesus had tried to point out to Peter, it was pride that had to be broken for love to fully exist. When Peter met eyes with Jesus, I wonder if he played in his head the conversation from earlier, if he heard every word as if Christ was speaking them in that one look. But I think Peter focused in on just a portion of that conversation, the one that pointed out his failure and faults. We do that too. It's hard to remember the promise of forgiveness and redemption when we're face to face with betraying the one we love, watching our pride in action, and doing it all after swearing we're better than that.

I also wonder if Peter could grasp Christ's words and promise without experiencing them come to fruition. Can we know the depth of our pride without seeing it exposed to the world? Can we hear the empty promises we make out of passionate excitement without seeing our failure to keep them? Can we know the depth of love and forgiveness without knowing our desperate need? And lastly, could Peter understand the ultimate fulfillment of Christ's promise for forgiveness and redemption without seeing his friend and Lord on the cross?

Why is grace so much harder to accept than judgement? Is it because as humans we naturally posses judgement in our hearts? This isn't to say that judgement is evil, but our version of it, riddled with animosity, hatred, and pride is a far cry from the righteous judgement of a holy and perfect God. No, I think that human judgement is easy and so we expect it, sometimes we even feel more comfortable with it because we know it and we can to an extent control it. But grace, the grace of a God who knows you will deny Him and yet promises you He will forgive and make you better and then proves that so vividly by marching to the cross and dying, that is foreign to us.

And so when we read this story, I think we often assume that Christ eyes betray His disappointment, His anger, His judgement. And yet, those aren't the eyes of a Savior, those aren't the eyes of a Redeemer. The one who would willfully lay down His life must have eyes filled with love deeper than we can convey with our own.

And in that one look, Peter probably missed the lesson. It took three long days for Him to understand that he had spent three years looking into the eyes of one who would not bring judgement but life.

One look.

How long will we miss the lesson?

***Thank you to my dear friend Margaret, who in her words of wisdom and encouragement gave me the idea to write this post.***


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...I thank Margaret also.

When I read your posts like this I have to wonder if you've really answered your true calling in life.

Are you sure you're doing all that God has intended for you to do?

Please give that some thought and prayer...

5/09/2008 6:17 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Thanks anonymous. The quick answer to your question is "I don't know". I like what I do now, more each day in fact, but do I wonder if there is something else? Sure. I guess I do need to think and pray about that.

5/10/2008 11:55 AM  
Blogger Eddo said...

Goodness KT. Goodness that was brilliant. I almost teared up. Thanks for sharing. I miss you. Hope you are doing well.

5/11/2008 6:56 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

GIRL. We NEED to talk.

Call me soon if you can.

Love ya!

5/13/2008 12:47 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

ABSOLUTELY fantastic, if you didn't catch that in my last comment. ;o)

5/13/2008 12:48 PM  
Blogger Shelley said...

Hi Katie!! Been a long while since I've been here. Sorry to have stayed away so long. Hope everything is well with you!

Confirm The Work of Our Hands

5/31/2008 8:38 AM  
Blogger David said...


10/01/2008 7:10 PM  

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