It's a festival. Time to celebrate with close friends.
Most of the party-goers didn't have the night they expected.
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’”So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.
When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
Matthew 26:17 - 21
His friends can't believe what they just heard. This group walked through a lot together - there's no way any of them foresee what's happening or how they'll react.
Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
Matthew 26:31- 33
After dinner, they go to a quiet place to be together. The friends are oblivious to the events at hand. While their friend agonizes, they fall asleep.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:36-38
The intimate gathering is crashed by authorities using inside information and overwhelming force to get their man.
In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me.But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. Matthew 26:55-56
As their friend is hauled off to court a couple of them follow at a safe distance.
The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God:Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.What do you think?”
“He is worthy of death,” they answered.
One of the closest friends in the group - so brave during easy times chooses to look out for number one.
After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”
Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed.Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:73-75
The party is more than over for Peter. The band of brothers is dissolved, his promises broken. He finds forgiveness in the dark.
From 2,000 years distance - it's easy to guess how much better we could handle the situation. But we're fooling ourselves if we do. We are those friends - the pie crust promise best friends who bolt for safety at the first sign of peril.
Thankfully, this isn't where the story ends - continue the story tomorrow.