What else was there for me to do?
Grabbing my cloak, I said, “I’m going fishing!”
That’s what I was doing when He first called me.
Several came along. We launched out and toiled all night.
It was warm - my clothes were soaked so I threw them in a keg.
The sun on my muscles felt good! I couldn’t work hard enough - so many thoughts in my mind - so many questions.
Only a few times could I be satisfied with my responses to Him. First, that I left
my nets to follow, then after such miracles, when I asked Him to bid me come to
Him - to step out on the water! Even then His touch had saved!
When He tried to explain the Bread and Blood, most of the disciples left, except for us twelve, and He asked, “Will you also leave?” (Oh, the look of pain in His eyes!)
I made a decent reply: “Lord, to Whom would we go? Thou hast the words of
That response was good. I liked remembering it.
And when He asked us: “Who do men say that I am?” we told Him: “Elijah, Moses, or one of the prophets, but He turned right to me. “Who do you say that I am?”
I answered in a heartbeat: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”
It was so right! And it felt so good to say it! Then even more so when he said I
was blest and that no flesh or bone had revealed it to me, but the Holy Spirit of God!
I got just a little proud.
But it wasn’t me that had said, “Let’s go with Him and die with Him!” that day
when He wanted to go to Lazarus. Bethany was so close to Jerusalem! We knew
if we ever went there again we would probably all die. No, it wasn’t me, it was
Thomas, though I loved Him that much.
Times were uncertain and we didn’t think we should go for the Passover. If we could have stayed in the shadows - not drawn a crowd - but here they were, with palm branches and coats spread out before Him, praises being sung and said, jubilation everywhere in that street. He even told us if He stopped the people and made them hold their peace, the rocks themselves would immediately cry out!
But around the corner they had made their vow and they had contaminated one of us!
So, the time went by with us twelve almost in hiding.
We had a beautiful supper together beginning with our Master acting as if He were our servant.- washing out feet, drying them with His own garment. When He came to me I couldn’t stand it. How could I let Him wash my feet? I was the one who confessed that He was the Christ! He reprimanded me then, saying if I did not let Him perform this act, I would have no part of Him. I asked Him then to wash all of me - not just my feet.
I couldn’t count the times during these hours as we talked so intimately, that He urged us to love one another, explaining that the world would know we are His by the love that we show. All these hours of these last few days I had the feeling
of the purest love I could ever hear of. I loved the beautiful words that fell from
His lips! They were like an invigorating food to me!
Finally, He told us He was about to be betrayed! He even said Satan had desired to have me! Because of His prayer alone, I was spared! He said, “When you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen and build up the faith of your brothers”!
I couldn’t believe He would say that! When had I left Him or turned aside? So I said, “Lord, I am ready to go to jail with You - even to die with You”...
The look of sadness that I had seen standing at Lazarus’ tomb swept over His face.
“Peter, between now and morning - before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times!”
Judas had already gone his way.
Jesus loved Gethsemine. In the Spring it was a peaceful and beautiful place and He wanted to go there, so we all went with Him fearful of every move we made
here this week, thankful for crowds to hide in. We all knew this garden well,
but none of us so well as Jesus for often He came here alone to pray. We crossed
the little bridge over the Kidron which ran through the temple grounds. The
water was red with the blood of the sacrificial lambs. Jesus stopped and looked
at the water a long moment, His pace became slower.
We had just gone into the garden a short distance when He called James, John
and me to go farther with Him.
“Wait here and pray! My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, unto death..”
Of course we would, even though we didn’t understand why He would be that
troubled. There had been trouble before...
I was feeling bad because He said I would deny Him, but when He woke us, my
disgust with myself was worse. How could I have fallen asleep? That’s what
He asked us. And He looked strange, sweat over his brow, his hair damp with
it. He bade us stay awake and pray again, and went back deeper into the olive
When He woke us the second time I became alarmed so it equaled my guilt.
His face was red, and there was discolored sweat on his robe! He charged us
once more and I vowed I would pray hard and watch for whatever He wanted
us to see. (There had been a time when we saw Moses and Elijah with Him...)
But, we were asleep when He came again. It was remorse now for me. No matter what I demanded of my body, I could not perform it.
I was so startled when He woke us, and He was covered in crimson! We were
full of concern, but He said, “Here they come now.”
Judas! Lanterns! Soldiers! A kiss! A blur - a montage of sounds and actions.
I drew my sword and swung, but He healed the ear and they were gone!
We slunk away - all of us, but, for me the vow I had made came reverberating
in my mind! “If all the world forsakes....”
They had taken Him to Annas. There was a courtyard there and a fire had been
built. I could not get in, but John saw me and spoke to the guard who let me in.
I stood there warming myself but numb with unbelief, when someone said, “He
is one of them.” I denied that before I even realized it. Fear was tremendous in
those quarters. Then someone else said, “He is one of His followers, He’s from
Nazareth” - which I again disputed. I will never be able throughout Eternity
to forget the next moment, for just as they were bringing Jesus out to take
Him to be questioned by Caiaphas, the high priest, someone again said, “His
speech betrays him - he is one of them!” I reverted to my old fisherman’s
language and by way of an oath, I swore I did not even know the man. Immediately, from somewhere over the wall, a rooster crowed and it was that
moment, that instant, that I saw Jesus, standing at the top of the steps. Our
eyes met and that same look of indescribable sorrow was on His face! Just
for a moment He held my eyes and then they jerked Him away and down the
steps...I....I cannot describe the remorse! I went running out of the yard and
never have I wept like that - even as a child!
I heard all about the rest of the night, the mocking, the lashing with the cat of
nine tails, the questioning - Pilate, Herod, mobs, accusations. Words of the
hours before stunned me until I was numb. “I am going away...” “In my Father’s house are many mansions...” “You know the way...” “I am the Way!
the Truth! The Life~”
I had fought and loved so fervently ...to lose it all at the end. How could He
ever love me again? My vows were a thin as the water I fished in. I hadn’t
even been close enough at the end to be charged with keeping His mother -
John at least was there, though I wondered how he could bear to look upon such a scene!
I lit a small candle, and sat in the corner of a room. We were all scattered. All
thinking the soldiers would come for us too. I managed a little water, a taste of
wine, but food was far from any thought. Some of the others drifted in. We sat
in silence. The last hours of this week becoming more and more indelible upon
our minds. It was a time of remembering, but no one spoke out loud and all
of us feared every sound at the door. We couldn’t imagine what crucifixion would be like, but the Romans were masters at it and we sat silent with our fearful hearts pounding,
The sound at the door was muffled, still, we startled. Again and again, growing
louder and more insistent each time. I cracked the door, letting the morning
light filter through. Mary, disheveled and breathless caught my hand. “Come!” she insisted, “Come and see! He is risen!” No more explanation was given and I ran with her, and John right behind. John passed me. At the tomb we were
stunned for the huge rock, placed by the Sanhedrin and the Romans was rolled
aside! Clearly not by Mary and the women who came to bring the spices. Not
even by the guards! I couldn’t stand it! I walked in...
All the teaching and all the insight Jesus had given us began to come together.
Mary, and the other women who had come told us the Master had said He
would go ahead into Galilee - for them to tell us - and specifically ME - He
would meet us there! He included me! As the truth began to dawn I couldn’t
hold it! I ran and left them all. Again the tears, but not bitter tears now.
Tears of gratitude and joy! Tears of never again a doubt! Tears that He even
remembered my name!
So now we wait, knowing not what the future holds, but waiting - and waiting
is hard. To pass the time I have fished all night. He could even walk to me on
the water. He will come - and I will wait.
We fished all night casting the net over and over. My muscles were sore and
out of practice.
As the dawn began to break we saw a Man on the beach, a small fire, and
when we were near enough He shouted, “Have you any meat?”
“Cast out your net ...” We did and when we began to pull the net and felt
those 53 fish, John said, “It is the Master!”
Do you think I could wait? I threw a garment around my body and disappeared
over the side!
I wonder if it gave Him pleasure to see me so hungry for His company. He surely didn’t need our fish, He already had fish and bread on the fire. All the
things He had ever said to me came to life. “Feed My sheep.” “Follow Me.”
“Feed My lambs”...”Come unto me...” Yes, I will follow, all the way and I will
“Feed My little sheep. When you were young, you were able to do as you liked
and to go wherever you wanted to; but when you are old, you will stretch out
your hands and others will direct you and take you where you don’t want to
go...” Never the less....I will always and forever follow Him, My Savior and
My King! I will always follow Him!
Joan Clifton Costner
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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