Week 4: Peter and the cross
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We let Jesus down, just like Peter did. Jesus died so that we can be forgiven and know God as our special friend.
Oh, hello! It’s me again, Peter.
Have you ever really let someone down? Done something so bad that you think they’ll never love you again, or never want to be your friend again? I have! And what made it even worse was that the person I really hurt was Jesus.
I’d been really good friends with Jesus for three years. I knew he was the Son of God and I’d seen him do amazing things. Then one night, Jesus called us together for a very special meal, called the Passover meal. As we all sat at the table, instead of saying the special words we usually say at the Passover meal, Jesus changed them. He took some bread and broke it. He gave it to us, and then said the bread was like his body, which was going to be broken for us. He then took some wine and gave it to us. He said that the wine was like his blood that was going to be poured out for our forgiveness. I didn’t get it at the time. Body, blood, forgiveness… Then Jesus told us that he was about to be arrested and killed. He said that when it happened, we would run away. That was absurd! I told him that I would never run away and leave him. But Jesus said to me that before the cockerel crowed in the morning, I’d have said three times I didn’t even know him. No way, I thought!
Anyway, Jesus was arrested… it was very frightening and really upsetting. You see Jesus had never, ever done anything wrong – he didn’t deserve to be arrested, let alone killed. The soldiers took him to this house for a sort of trial. I followed at a distance. Just outside the house was a small fire. Several people were around the fire warming their hands, so I joined them, trying to keep an eye on what was happening to Jesus. As I waited, three different people asked me if I was one of Jesus’ friends. I was frightened, and I told them all I didn’t know who he was. I even said some really bad swear words.
And then the cockerel crowed, and I remembered what Jesus said – ‘Before the cockerel crows, you’ll say three times you don’t know me.’ I was so upset – I’d really let him down – that I ran away in floods of tears.
Jesus died that day on a wooden cross. He hadn’t done anything wrong, but he died for you and me. Why? He told me at the meal – so we can be forgiven!
I needed to be forgiven, but I’ll tell you all about what happened next week.
This story is in two sections in the bible. Firstly the story of the Last Supper can be found in Mark 14:12-26 and then Peter and the cross of Jesus can be found in Matthew 26:31-35, 58, 69-75.
Peter was like you and me. He did things wrong – he lied, said bad words, and hurt people just like we do. When we do those things it makes our lives very dirty and mucky. When we are like this, we can’t be friends with God because he’s perfect.
Jesus died for us. He died to take the punishment for all the things we have done wrong. If you did something really bad at school, you would be punished for it. It’s the same with our sins, the wrong things we do – God hates these things, and yet he loves us so much. But Jesus died to take our punishment, so we can have our lives cleaned up. So if we say sorry, mean it and decide to follow Jesus, then it’s like Jesus taking our muck and dirt, washing us and pulling us out clean. We’ll find out more about that next week. Now, because we are clean we can get to know Jesus as our greatest friend. Isn’t that wonderful!
If we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.
1 John 1:9
Remind yourselves that God loves to hear our prayers. Think about how as well as God loving to hear our words, he likes it when we use our bodies to praise him. Today we are going to clap and cheer God for all the wonderful things he has done!
Because you love us so much we want to give you a clap! (Clap)
Because you died on a cross, so that we can be forgiven and become your friends, we want to give you a cheer! (Cheer)
Because of the great time we’ve had learning about you and all the things we are doing over the summer holidays we give you a clap and a cheer! (Clap and cheer)
Have a go at making your own cockerel to remind you of when you let people down by saying bad words, lying or not being friendly. Or maybe you could make and decorate a cross like the one Jesus died on? Think about how God hates all the bad things that we do but still loves us so much and wants to be our friend.
(Seaside Rock by Dave Godfrey, 2003, Scripture Union)