Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)
TITLE: "You're One of Them!"
By Fiona Dorothy Stevenson
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Peter rubbed his hands across his face. What had he done? What could he do? Where would he go? Painfully slowly, he gathered his thoughts and finally made his way home. Andrew was there, together with James and John. There was an air of dejection, uncertainty. They looked up as Peter joined them, but no one spoke. What was there to say? By ones and twos the others came. Little was said. What was there to say?
Each man sitting there thought over the events of the past twenty-four hours. The Passover meal in the upper room, the hymn they sang as they walked to the garden they had so often visited. Jesus had seemed – somehow
– different. Preoccupied.
John broke the silence. “It was before, you know. At Simon’s house in Bethany. When that woman broke her box of ointment, and he said, ‘She has come to anoint my body to the burying.’ We didn’t understand but that was when it started.”
James mused, “I think he knew before that. Some of the things he said…”
There were a few nods and they fell silent again, each thinking his own thoughts.
Suddenly Peter broke out in an agony of remorse. “How could I do that? He warned me. And I didn’t listen. Now there is no way I can make it up. I denied my Lord, and now he is dead, and I can’t tell him how sorry I am. How could I do that?”
The others looked away in embarrassment. John stood and took a step toward Peter. “Peter,” he started to say consolingly, but Peter interrupted him violently.
“No, John! You heard me, you saw me. You were there. We watched him stand before the high priest. Then that young woman came and accused me of being a companion of Jesus of Nazareth. And I told her I did not know what she was talking about. I went out onto the porch, and I heard the cock crow. Then another woman came and she told the people around that I was ‘one of them’. Of course I denied it. But before long it started again. Some of those standing there said I must be one of his followers. After all, I was a Galilean – my speech betrayed me. I was so afraid. I cursed. I swore. I told them I knew nothing at all of the man they were talking about. And the cock crew again.”
He broke off with a sob. His friends carefully studied the floor. They could not meet his eyes. They could not bear the agony of his voice. They were conscious that the only reason they had not done the same thing was because in their fear and indecision they had not followed Jesus to the high priest’s palace. Except for John…
Peter spoke again. His voice, though more controlled, was deeply unhappy, bleak. “I remembered what he had said. ‘Before the cock crows twice you will betray me three times.’ And what was my reply? ‘I would rather die with you than deny you!’ But what did I do? And now it is too late.”
There were nods all round. James added hesitatingly, “That’s what we all said,,,” Again they nodded, sadly.
They thought of the years they had walked with him. The excitement of seeing his miracles, hearing his teaching, being a part of what he was doing. But now he was gone. Crucified. Perhaps it was dangerous to be identified with him. If people remembered… If they questioned as they had questioned Peter, what should they do? What would they do?
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