I am SLOWLY making my way through the book of Luke and have been meditating a lot about Jesus' last days on earth and his disciples' behavior during this time. If I was Jesus, I'd be tempted to give up on the whole lot of them, put them in time out for life or wring their necks. They just kept screwing up, over and over. Sometimes in little ways. Sometimes HUGE. Judas threw in the towel, abandoned his faith in Jesus as the Messiah and betrayed Him with a kiss, the greeting of a friend.
In the last days and hours, Jesus warned the disciples that tough times were coming. That war, spiritually speaking, would break out and that they needed to be equipped and ready to fight. Bags packed. Swords in hand. Determination and perseverance on the forefront. Twice when He was in the garden of Gethsemane, he told them to pray they would not fall into temptation. Jesus knew when He was arrested and all hell broke loose, that the disciples would be rattled to their core. They would be tempted to deny Jesus, to feel deceived, to run, to hide, to abandon their faith. Not exactly character traits that will set the world on fire. Jesus even told impulsive Peter the EXACT temptation he would face and warned Peter that he would initially fail, not once, not twice, but three times.
Even with all the hand-holding Jesus did, the disciples failed him miserably. They ran. They hid. They questioned everything they believed in. They felt deceived. They cowered. They denied Jesus. And still, Jesus loved them. When Peter cursed and swore he didn't even know who Jesus was, Jesus looked at him with pain-filled eyes of love that drove Peter to immediate grief, shame, remorse and repentance.
I think of my life and I'm sure the Father God wants to throw in the towel. Give up. Quit on me. Because I fail. And fail. And fail. I waiver in my faith. I take back control. I give Jesus everything except what is most important to me, like my kids and my husband. I hide what Jesus has done in my life. I question why I believe. I surrender my desires, except that stuff that I think is really important. Not exactly world-changing character traits. But Jesus looks at me with pain-filled eyes of love, and my heart fills with grief, shame, remorse and repentance. And we start all over again.
At the end of Luke 22, Peter is sitting around a fire, warming his hands. A servant girl "looked closely at him and said, 'This man was with Him.'" Peter opens his mouth to deny his identity with Jesus, but it didn't matter. He was already marked by the Son.
I thought about that statement for a long time in light of my life. Can people "look closely" at me. Can they stare. Squint. Analyze. Zoom in. Zoom out. And when they step back, will they boldly proclaim, in spite of my flaws, "That woman was with Him. She's been marked by the Son." Jesus, please, may the answer be YES.