Rising Gloom - Promised Light
The Bible doesn't say what the Lord did on the Wednesday of Passion Week. Scholars speculate that after two exhausting days in Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples spent this day resting in Bethany in anticipation of Passover.
Just a short time previously, Jesus had revealed to the disciples, and the world, that he had power over death by raising Lazarus from the grave. After seeing this incredible miracle, many people in Bethany believed that Jesus was the Son of God and put their faith in him. Also in Bethany just a few nights earlier, Lazarus' sister Mary had lovingly anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive perfume.
This part of Jesus final week before the desolation of Good Friday is one of contrasts; precious moments with his dearly loved friends at Bethany, whist the plot to betray him gathers traction. By the end of the week, two of Christ’s disciples would face the consequence of their actions. Judas, the cost of betrayal; Peter the price of denial - both had to face the inner anguish of remorse. The book of Lamentations paints such a vivid picture. “ Look, LORD, how distressed I am; all my insides are churning. My heart is troubled within me, because I vigorously rebelled. Outside the sword brings loss of life, while at home death rules.” (Lamentations 1:4)
Remorse can kill or can purify. The ability to believe we are forgiven is crucial to our spiritual growth. This was the defining difference between Peter and Judas. Vacillating Peter went from the shame of his threefold denial to become the rock on which Christ’s church was founded. Judas could not contemplate the possibility of forgiveness and he went into unimaginable darkness.
John Sullivan, an Irish Jesuit priest, urged participants at the start of retreats he led with the words: ‘I hope every single one of you will have broken every resolution you made before the end of the week, and if not then, at least in a fortnight.... It will do you good provided you do not flop down and lie there on the broad of your back, saying “It’s no use, it’s all over.” Not a bit of it, it’s not all over, its only beginning. So up with you and start again. Remember each time you fall that you are not back where you were before but are starting again from where you fell.’
You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me. When I fall short of your glory and need your help to overcome, I pray that you light my steps and lead me out of the darkness and back into your light. Amen.