I don’t trust “good” people. The terrorists who murdered 147 people in Kenya last year called themselves al-Shabaab, “the good people.”
So, no, I don’t trust “good” people.
But forgiven people—those I can relate to.
Now he confronts his own darkness (dramatization based on biblical/historical research) en route to forgiveness:
“Jesus sent us out in twos,” Simon (now called Peter) writes in his journal. “He anointed us to preach and do miracles in his name. Did we believe it? We hoped. When an old rabbi in Gerazim said that people are made righteous by following ‘every jot of the Law,’ I shouted, ‘No! The righteous live by faith.’
‘What proof do you have that God accepts your faith?’ he asked, pointing at me with a hand that was withered like a little goat’s hoof.
‘In the name of Messiah Yeshua, be healed!’ I said. When we left the synagogue, he was clutching the Torah with his perfectly restored hand!
I know now that I could never deny Jesus. Because he’s the one who restored the rabbi’s hand, who turned my sad little faith into a rock!
Still, why does he talk about going away?”
“Judas turned on him. After the guards arrested him, I told myself I’d find a way to free him or die trying. But I didn’t. I denied knowing him—three times—and saved the only thing I truly hated. My self.
I went back to the Disciple’s House, and crawled into a corner.
Was I dreaming? A dark, faceless thing began circling me. I was dressed in excrement-soaked rags, yet I clung to them. They were all I had. The faceless thing kept tearing away pieces until I was completely naked. Then it lifted me into this huge net, surrounded by hideously ugly fish, and shook us into a burning trash pit. The flames began searing my skin. I watched as my own flesh fell away in charred pieces. I clawed at the edge of the pit, but the Thing kept pulling me back toward the flames.
All of a sudden, there at the edge was a foot—strong, tortured, beautiful. I grabbed it. The Dark Thing pulled me back, but blood began streaming from a wound on the foot and running over me, burning the Dark Thing’s hand. The creature screamed and fell back into the fire.
Then a hand that was pierced like the foot pulled me from the pit and laid my raw, fleshless body in the cool, damp sand. My skin started to grow back, and suddenly the tattered rags began knitting themselves together, turning white and clean.
When I awoke, a saw a dozen disciples on the rooftop. I climbed and looked out toward the hill they call Golgotha: three men were being crucified.
And then I understood.
Now there’s nothing but darkness, and I’ve reached the end of my self.”
“It couldn’t have happened. But it did. Jesus’ tomb was empty. I thought all of the light had gone out of the world, but then the women said they’d seen him–alive! Suddenly he was there at the Disciples’ House. Standing before us. I kept staring at his feet, remembering. Then he vanished. But just before he did, he looked at me.
We returned to Galilee. It felt so good to be back on the water. We didn’t catch anything. But the next morning a man on the shore called for us to cast our net on the opposite side…and that was when we knew. I threw myself into the water and swam ashore.
I helped him prepare breakfast, but didn’t say a word. When the others arrived we ate and joked and laughed.
But when we finished, Jesus said, ‘Simon’—my old name—‘Do you love me?’
‘Yes, Lord. You know I do.’
‘Feed my lambs. Simon, do you truly love me?’
‘Take care of my sheep… Simon, do you love me?’
He’d asked me if I loved him the same number times I’d denied him. ‘Lord, you know everything,’ I sobbed. ‘You know I love you.’
I think light is most beautiful when it makes a path in the darkness.
One last time he said, ‘Feed my sheep.’
I knew I could die a thousand times for him and it wouldn’t be enough. But I also knew it wouldn’t be necessary because he’d already done it. And he still loved me.
And that was all that mattered.”