Thaddeus: It was a very long day and an even longer night, Peter.
Peter: I've had two sleepless nights . . . I . . . just can't get over it.
Thaddeus: Get over what?
Peter: The look . . . the look in his eyes, Thaddeus.
Thaddeus: What look?
Peter: As he was carrying the cross . . . yesterday . . . to Golgotha.
Thaddeus: You saw him?
Peter: Yes, I did . . . I just had to see him . . . after I had failed him so miserably.
Thaddeus: What do you mean? You failed him?
Peter: The night he was arrested, I followed him and his accusers. It was the worst night of my life.
[Mary Magdalene and John approach.]
John: We couldn't help but overhear. The night of his arrest was terrible. But last night after they took him down from the cross . . . I couldn't get that painful sight out of my mind.
Mary: I was with his mother and John [puts hand briefly on John's shoulder]. Mary was so strong at the cross. She was there for him, her son. It was only later that she let her pain show.
Peter: I saw him on the way to Golgotha. Thank God someone stepped in to help him with the cross. After I caught his eye, I couldn't bear to follow.
Thaddeus: Peter, you said that the night of his arrest was the worst night of your life. Why?
Peter: Because I denied him.
John: No . . . Peter. You were always the strongest of us all.
Peter: But John, I denied him. Not once, but three times. He even told me earlier that I would do so. I felt so ashamed. I had to see him again. I knew he was aware of what I did. When the Romans brought him out and started marching Jesus and the others with their crosses, I ran ahead. I had to get somewhere where I could see him . . . face to face.
Mary: Were you successful, Peter?
Peter: Yes, I was . . . I had to run a long way, but there . . . up there around the bend . . . the crowd was sparse. He was so tired and struggled so.
Thaddeus: When he approached, what did you say? Or was it he who spoke?
Peter: Neither of us spoke with words, but we did speak. I spoke with shame, with tears . . . barely able to look at him except for some fleeting glances.
John: And Jesus?
Peter: Jesus' eyes never left me as he approached. I expected to see a look of condemnation, but I got a look of reassurance and eyes filled with love.
Mary: Why didn't you say something, Peter? It sounds like you needed to tell him how sorry you were.
Peter: I tried. My mouth opened, but my tongue wouldn't move. Before I knew it, he had passed by me.
Mary: Please don't be hard on yourself. We are all human. We are all afraid. What will we do without him?
Pete: He may be dead, but that reassuring glance, that look of love remains with me. When I saw it, I knew I had seen it before but I couldn't remember when. Then, late last night, I remembered. Do you recall the day Jesus called me to walk upon the water?
John: How could we forget?
Thaddeus: I couldn't believe how brave you were.
Peter: Oh, I was brave. I took four steps, looked to the water, lost my faith and sank. Just like when I said I'd always stand up for him, then denied him. That day, when I started sinking, I called out "Lord, save me"ï¿½. And he looked at me with those reassuring, loving eyes. I'll never forget those eyes . . . that look of love he gave me two years ago on the sea and yesterday on the way to his death.
John: You know, I think I know that look. Yesterday, Mary and his mother and I followed him to the cross. He was truly in pain. As he was dying, he made several utterances, but two stood out in my mind. Do you remember, Mary?
Mary: Absolutely. I couldn't believe he asked God to forgive everyone who did this to him. Just after he said that he glanced at the three of us and we saw that look . . . the look of love that only Jesus had. I'll not forget it . . . even in his death.
Thaddeus: John, you said there were two things Jesus said that stood out in your mind.
John: Yes, there were. After asking God to forgive everyone who did this, he looked at me, then at his mother with those reassuring eyes. He said to his mother, "Woman, look at your son,"ï¿½ and to me, "Son, look after your mother."ï¿½ His mother and I now know we are to be like a family, and I will take her to my home. I know exactly what you mean, Peter . . . even as he was dying, he displayed a look of love.
Thaddeus: So where do we go now?
Peter: We all should go home and rest. Tomorrow is a new day. [Leaves.]
Mary: Tomorrow is the day we say goodbye to him. A few of us will get up early in the morning to anoint his body . . . then . . . I just don't know.
Thaddeus Then I shall see you all soon. [Mary and John leave.] And that is what I recall happened that day after his death. Jesus was gone. We didn't know what to do. We remembered his teachings, but they didn't seem important that day. We remembered his miracles, but wondered why he didn't save himself. But we couldn't and I still can't forget those reassuring eyes,ï¿½that look of love that was always a part of him. I left Peter, John, and Mary that day and returned to a friend's home outside of the city. I was not around for the excitement of the next morning, so I cannot tell you firsthand. I had to wait to hear later in the day. Now I am an old man. Over thirty years have passed since Jesus was with us, but he is once again alive . . . in this book written by the physician Luke. [Shows a scroll.] I just received it a short time ago, and I'd like to let Luke finish the story. Let's see . . . Luke writes . . . "On the first day of the week, early in the morning, they came to the tomb bringing prepared spices with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. And they entered in and did not find the body of Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were perplexed, that two men in shining clothes stood by them. And they became afraid and bowed their faces to the ground. The men said, 'Why do you search for the living among the dead? He is not here; he is risen. Remember what he said to you when he was in Galilee . . .'ï¿½ And they remembered his words. And they returned from the tomb and told most of us disciples. It was Mary Magdalene, the one who was with Peter, John and me the day before, and two others who first went to the tomb. [Holds rolled up scroll.] This wonderful book by Luke tells the story of Jesus so perfectly. I have read it once and will soon read it again. If any of you are interested, let me know and I'll make it available. Oh, if only . . . if only Luke's story could be read by everyone around the world, then everyone would know of Jesus' teachings, his miracles, his death for each of us and his resurrection. What a different world it could be? Luke's story is wonderful but he was not with Jesus. He can tell you things Jesus taught and things he did, but he cannot tell you of his eyes, his reassuring, loving eyes. Only those who were with him can do so, and there are only a few of us left. Read this book and as you read it, imagine the love that a glance from Jesus shared with each of us, the look of god-sent love.
We would love to hear if this activity was useful to your group. Please share your experience by writing to: TimFerguson@christianyouthgroup.org.