I got to thinking the other day: Which Apostle would you rather be- James, John, or Peter?
These were the three that had entry everywhere Jesus went. They were with Him at the Transfiguration, in the garden, where ever Jesus just needed the “two or three”. James, the first to die for the Gospel. Peter, the rock on which the Church was built. John, who passed the torch onto the next generation. Which one would you be?
Now, flip the question- which Apostle are you? Would you be James? James was not mentioned after the arrest; he was one of those who fled when Jesus surrendered. When the heat came down, he disappeared.
Would you be John? Remember, John had an in with the High Priest (John 18:15) and thus was right there when the trial of Jesus took place. And though he was right there, he said not a word. After it was almost all over, he came back to help pick up the pieces (john 19:26-27), but he spoke not a word when it might have altered the course of events. (Note that while God might not have wanted him to alter the events, he in his mortal, pre-Pentecost mind couldn’t have known that.) When the heat came down, he stood by, silent.
Would you be Peter? Peter stood a ways off, concealing his Identity; even lying about it, saying he wasn’t involved, when confronted. When the heat came down, he denied being involved.
Now, I’m not saying that what they did after that dark night wasn’t important. But without Christ’s victory over sin and death, they had not the faith and courage to stand up and be counted. And why not? Go back to the last time Jesus took the trio with Him; into the garden Gethsemane to pray. Three times He asked them to pray, “Lest they fall into temptation”. Three times He found the pillars of His Church asleep. And sure enough, they fell into the temptation of fear; One ran off, one stood by silent, and one denied involvement.
And this is what that lesson tells me. The disciple Jesus wants, the one I need to be, isn’t any of these three. When Jesus needs me to pray- for my kids, my friends, anyone- I need to put the knees into it and actually pray. Not just, “…and God bless Aunt Martha, and Joe at the factory.. and… ZZZZZZ…” Focus on the prayer, pray for God’s will, pray that I can withstand it when the heat comes down. The kind of Disciple I need to be is the one who stays awake and prays at Gethsemane.