In The Confessions of Peter, Part One, Peter talked about meeting Jesus. Now he confronts his own darkness.
“Jesus sent us out in twos, to preach and do miracles in his name. Did we believe it? We hoped. When an old rabbi in Gerazim said 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 you?’ he asked, pointing with a hand that was withered like a little goat’s hoof. ‘In the name of Yeshua (Jesus), 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, and turned my sad little faith into a rock!
Still, why does he talk about going away?”
“After the guards arrested him, I told myself I’d find a way to free him. But I didn’t. I denied even knowing him—three times—and saved the only thing I truly hate: 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. 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. I watched as my own flesh fell away. I clawed at the edges, but the Thing kept pulling me back.
All of a sudden, there at the edge was a foot—strong, tortured. I grabbed it. The Dark Thing pulled me back, but blood began streaming from a wound on the foot, burning the Dark Thing’s hand. The creature fell back into the fire.
Then a hand that was pierced like the foot pulled me from the pit and laid my 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, I looked toward the hill they call Golgotha: three men were being crucified. And then I understood.
I have reached the end of my self.”
“It couldn’t have happened. But it did. Jesus’ tomb was empty! I thought all the light had gone out of the world. But then suddenly he was there, standing before us! I kept staring at his feet, remembering.
We returned to Galilee. It felt 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 I knew.
When we finished breakfast, he said, ‘Simon’—my old name—‘Do you love me?’
‘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.’ Then his eyes filled with tears and light came rushing back into the world. I think light is most beautiful when it makes a path in the darkness.
I knew I could die a thousand times 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.”