Something wasn't right. It hadn't been for the last few days. The tension was so thick, one could cut it with a sword. That's what I felt like doing. I kept mine at my side, for I had a feeling something was going to happen . . . and it did.
It all started when Jesus began talking about a shepherd being killed and the sheep scattering. I knew he meant himself and the sheep, his followers; but he couldn't mean me. I would never leave him.
"Lord, even if all the others stumble, I will not stumble. I will never leave."
He looked deep into my eyes — into my soul. "Peter, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times."
I shook my head. "No! Even if I die with you, I will never deny you."
It was a long night. I tried to stay awake; truly I did. Jesus took James and John and me to pray with him, but I couldn't stay awake.
An hour later, I was fully awake. At first I saw the lights. Then I heard the tromping feet and clanking armor. The line of torches came closer, filing down the garden path toward us. My hand hovered on the hilt of my sword. The company of soldiers stopped. Silence.
"Rabbi!" It was Judas. What was he doing with the soldiers?
Jesus accepted his kiss. "Friend, why have you come?"
Couldn't he see it was a trap?
He turned to the high priest and soldiers. "Whom are you seeking?"
"Jesus of Nazareth."
Like an invisible wave, his words knocked them over like dry twigs. They scrambled to regain their feet and surged forward. The other disciples crashed through the bushes into the darkness. I would not leave. I was determined to fight to the end.
"No! Leave him alone!" I swung my sword. The servant of the high priest screamed and clutched the side of his head.
Jesus said, "Peter! Put up your sword. Shall I not drink the cup which my Father has given me?"
My hand dropped to my side. His words pierced my heart. Why? Didn't he know how much I loved him?
"Peter, those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Don't you realize that I could pray to my Father and He would send twelve legions of angels? How would the Scriptures be fulfilled? "
What was Jesus talking about? Was he just going to let them arrest him?
Jesus stooped and picked up something. Tenderly, he put the severed ear against the bleeding head. What was he doing? Didn't he realize that they wanted to kill him? He was not fighting; he was healing. I couldn't believe it.
They took him away.
I followed. He didn't want my help, but I couldn't leave him.
As I huddled near the fire in the courtyard, my mind played over the last few hours. Why didn't he fight? I didn't understand.
A woman stood nearby. "You were with Jesus of Galilee."
My heart pounded. I shook my head. "I don't know what you're talking about." I had to get out of there.
As I ducked through the crowd, another girl said, "That man was with Jesus."
"I don't know him."
"But your speech gives you away."
"I swear, I don't know him!"
The rooster crowed. I froze and remembered his words. Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times. I turned to look at him; he was already looking at me with those loving eyes — with a look that cut me to the heart.
I couldn't believe I said that! How could I?
After that, it was the worst nightmare ever. They beat him; they mocked him and nailed him to a cross. We waited. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I felt as traitorous as Judas.
When the women announced their visions of angels, I saw only the empty tomb. I didn't know what to believe. How could it be? I didn't understand.
"I'm going fishing." I thought it would calm my soul to do something normal, but it wasn't working. We weren't catching anything, and my heart wasn't in it.
"Throw your nets on the other side." The words skimmed over the water. Immediately, the lines pulled taut with hundreds of fish. Only Jesus could fill nets like that.
My heart lifted. "It is the Lord!" I plunged into the cool water toward him. I couldn't believe it!
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