I am Simon Peter. One minute, I’m declaring my “whatever it takes” determination to die with Jesus, and the next I’m nodding off while my Lord agonizes in prayer just a few feet away. When the soldiers arrest Jesus, I scuttle off into the darkness with everyone else. Accused of being a Jesus-follower, I deny it … using some very emphatic language. Throughout the crucifixion of my Lord, I maintain a safe distance. After his burial, I fall into a deep depression and can’t do much but sit around and grieve.
Then … resurrection! … and Pentecost! Fiery passion fills my heart and I am telling everyone I can about what God has done through Jesus. But now the soldiers come to get me. The government council tells me to shut up about this Jesus nonsense. And all I can say in reply is, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
This year at Eastertime, the mob has tasted blood. They are determined to force Christian faith into a closet. They would like to kill it altogether. Some disciples have denied the truth and scuttled off into the darkness. One day soon, you will be warming yourself at a fire in the high priest’s courtyard — or perhaps even standing before the Council. What will you do?
If you are going to stand with Jesus, “whatever it takes,” you will need the power of resurrection and Pentecost to strengthen you.