Prayer: As we look at the cross, help us see the good. Amen.
Reading: John 18:1 - 19:42 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: It has been our tradition to read this long text on Good Friday for our digital First Light devotions. It is the end of the story of Jesus’ passion. It is what we commemorate this day. We hear the final words of Jesus, witness his death, and see him laid in the tomb.
Each year, as I have prepared to write this devotion, someone has stood out to me in my reading of this story. This year, Peter is on my mind. I encourage you to re-read this text and reflect on one of the characters. It is a powerful way to look at scripture.
Peter denies Christ three times, just as Jesus predicted. What struck me as I read this was that one of the people who recognized Peter was a relative of the man who lost his ear at Peter’s hand in the Garden of Gethsemane. I hadn’t picked up on that before. I also notice that after Peter denies Jesus and the rooster crows, we don’t see Peter in the rest of the story. What happened to him? Did he run? Did he not witness the crucifixion with his own eyes? What was going through his head?
I may have some idea. When I was a youngster, my dad presented a monologue, portraying Peter. I got to see him do the performance a few times, including once at a Good Friday Father/Son Breakfast. What I remember about dad’s portrayal was that Peter was pretty emotional. And I think that interpretation was probably correct. Peter probably cried and felt anguish and was disappointed in himself that day. How could he have let that happen? How could he deny Christ?
This day, stare at the cross. When are the times you have denied our Lord? When are the times that you have forgotten the great sacrifice that we remember today? How can you live in the good of the events of this Good Friday? --Chad Hershberger
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