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Peter's Denial by Rembrandt, 1660. Jesus is sh...

Peter's Denial by Rembrandt, 1660. Jesus is shown in the upper right hand corner, his hands bound behind him, turning to look at Peter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I volunteer once a week and help out as a “leader” at/in our church’s youth ministry on Tuesday nights.  I’m paired with the 7th grade boys… hyped up animals!  Keeping them on task is a task!  There is a reason why I picked secondary education as a major – focusing on high school – and why I also never used my degree…  But, they’re good kids.  They’ve just got ants in their pants and their mind is racing in multiple directions at warp speed.

Anyhow, the youth minister asked if I’d take part in something he was calling a “Cross Walk” which would be part of the youth ministry’s way of approaching Easter.  The Cross Walk would involve three monologues from three Biblical figures concerning Christ’s death; Peter, Mary Magdalen and a Roman centurion.  I was given and accepted the role of Peter and asked to write a monologue that provides a unique response to what happened to that individual vis-a-vis Jesus’ final hours leading up to his death.  As we were going to be speaking to teens, we had to write as if our listeners were Biblically illiterate.  Our effort was not to add to the character but flesh them out based upon what we knew.

If you wish to or need to read along, open your Bible or click here to Mark 14 and read the Passion story.  Also, it bears noting what Maundy Thursday means.  Basically a mandate, a command – to love and serve one another with humility and sacrifice .  You can look here for further discussion. On this day, Christ celebrated Passover, washing his disciples feet then sharing with them the Last Supper. From there to the Garden where Jesus was betrayed and arrested and pertinent to this post, Peter denies Him which takes place overnight and into dawn of Good Friday when Jesus is crucified and dies.

What follows is the monologue I typed up.  It actually wasn’t very hard to write.  Following through though was a bit harder.  I like acting, though I’ve rarely gotten the opportunity to do it.  It’s been years since I’ve done a real play and had to memorize pages of lines.  I’m also a procrastinator.  So, memorizing two pages of text, four minutes of speaking… Augh!!  Of course, the reminder is always that the audience doesn’t know what your lines are supposed to be, nor do they know whether you’re forgetting lines or just taking a serious dramatic pause.  Heh… so, I’ll let you figure out if you can tell when my brain froze… twice!  Quite a dramatic pause, to be sure.  I don’t know whether it truly hurt the performance or not.  Also, my actual monologue doesn’t follow what I wrote and tried to memorize verbatim. 

Of course, the performance in and of itself wasn’t what was important.  It’s the message that was important.

What was that sound? Did you hear it? I keep hearing a rooster crowing, and it is like a hammer to my soul.

Two times the rooster crowed.  Three times I denied him.  Never in my life have I felt like such a wretch.

I first met Jesus through my brother Andrew and also Jesus’ cousin John. We’re fishermen, and one day while we were mending our nets, Jesus came by and asked us to join him. You see, he was a teacher and it’s not uncommon for rabbis to gather around them a group of disciples, students if you will.  I even became one of the leaders of our little band – how, I’ll never understand (I’m always sticking my foot in my mouth).

We walked the length and breadth of our homeland for several years, and he taught us as we went, preached to the masses and healed people. He healed people! The man was like no one I’ve ever met. He did things no one has ever seen.

One day he pressed me; he questioned me, “Who do you say that I am, Peter?”  I called him Christ. I called him Messiah.

How could I not? Had I not seen the miracles he’d performed? Had I not been there when he raised people from the dead, turned a small meal into a feast for thousands? Had I not seen him transformed into something otherworldly as he met with Moses and Elijah? You don’t believe me? I was there man! I saw them and so did James and his brother John.

The man had power over nature! He calmed storms with a word! He walked on top of water! I got so caught up in the moment that day he even had me walking on the water! But I started to sink. Do you know how deep that lake is?! I’m not him, how could I have done that?!

Man, what is with me? Have you ever felt like me? One minute I feel like I’m on fire for him! Nothing’s going to hold me back. I called him Lord, right? The next minute I go and stick my foot in my mouth trying to tell him what to do and he rebukes me… calls me Satan! Satan! That hurt.

I denied that I’d fall away from him, turn my back on him. He said I would, but, I’m Peter! I’m “The Rock”, man! I knew better… or at least thought I did.

No, he knew better.

He saw me when the rooster crowed. Never have I felt such a piercing gaze. I ran, weeping; crying like a little child. He knew!

He knew. Jesus had told me that I would deny him, deny knowing him. He said a rooster would crow after I had denied him three times, and it happened.

And why shouldn’t I have? It’s not surprising really. I followed after them when they took Jesus, the Pharisees and their guards that is.  I even tried to defend Jesus. I cut a man’s ear off. Why did I do that? Jesus then restored the man’s ear! That doesn’t surprise me though. That was Jesus. He was always thinking of other people.  Me, I’ve only ever thought about myself.  Yeah, I followed after Jesus, but I held back. Yeah, I denied him. I don’t want to die! I’ve got a family. I’m scared!

Do you know what Messiah means? It means “anointed one” and ‘king’. Christ. How can Jesus be a king? How can he be the Christ? How can he be the one we’ve been waiting for, for so long? Man, he’s supposed to be crushing our enemies and defeating them. Instead, they defeated him. Why shouldn’t I have denied him?

But the things he did… the things I saw. The things he said. He was no ordinary man.

Did I mention he performed miracles? Did I mention that he raised people from the dead? Do you understand that?! One time the guy had been dead and buried for days – do you know what happens once a body dies? It doesn’t take long for things to get nasty. The man looked like he’d never been sick, let alone dead!  But raising people from the dead, that’s one thing. Getting yourself raised from the dead… or doing it yourself… Impossible! Or is it? He said he’d be back, didn’t he?

This is too much for me. I am so confused. The pain is still too fresh, and surely I am still in danger. I must hide… You would do well to do the same if you are a follower of Jesus.

Our Youth Ministry will/should probably upload all three videos of the three monologues on their Youtube account soon.  As well, there’ll be a podcast of the whole evening – monologues and sermonette – on the youth ministry’s website as soon as our youth minister can find the time to breathe between his family, ministry duties and seminary studies.  I’ll try to remember to update this posting with those links when they’re up.    Oh, I also apologize ahead of time for the quality of the video(s); it was filmed with my digital camera and the lights were dimmed for effect.

As the above monologue is completely my own work, if you’re interested in copying and/or using it, please seek my permission and note the source – sorry, I do not have access or rights to the Magdalen or soldier monologues.  Thanks.