You Can’t Leave Me
by John Boules
I’m the type of person that is very dependent on others. I get really happy when I’m at church with friends, I love it when we drive to church together as a family, I speak to my friends everyday, and I don’t really like being alone.
I was thinking about it today and I think you can make that same assumption with Saint Peter. You see how much he really loves Our Lord and how dependant he is on Him.
If we look at the story of Peter walking on water, he doesn’t actually care about the act/power of walking on water, he cares about going to Christ.
And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (Matthew 14:28)
He just wants to be with his Lord because that’s where he feels safest. It reminds me of when I was a kid and would walk off by myself in the shopping centre and then I’d realise I’ve lost mum and I would just drop onto the floor and cry. As soon as I’d look up and see my mum at a distance, I would race towards her as she crouches down and jump into her arms! It was the best feeling – the safest I’ve ever felt.
From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
– Matthew 16:21-22
The word that screams out to me is ‘rebuke’
If we define rebuke, it says; “to express sharp disapproval or criticism of someone because of their behaviour or actions”
This reminds me so much of those movies where you’ve got the husband and the wife and they’re having an argument. He stands up abruptly and yells “i can’t do this anymore! I’m leaving!” He walks towards the door and she quickly realised that’s she can’t do life without him. She jumps towards him and grabs his hand and pleads with him! “No! Please don’t leave me! You can’t leave me, I need you!”
Christ tells the disciples that He’s going to be crucified and killed and He’s going to leave them. They’re going to be independent soon. Peter can’t take it! He pulls him aside and gets really angry! But not anger, anger! But more anger out of love and being scared! “Lord you can’t leave me! What am I supposed to do without You! You actually can’t do this to me!”
You also see it when the Jews arrest Christ, Peter rips the sword out and cuts the servant’s ear! At that point, he sees it all unfolding. Everything that Christ said earlier is actually happening and it hits him all at once. He freaks out and he was probably thinking, ‘you can’t take Him! He’s all I have!’
Three people approach him in front of others saying that he’s associated with the crucified One. He hastily denies all accusations. But you notice in the last one he gets really angry in comparison to the first two times – “Man, I do not know what you are talking about!”
He knew exactly who Jesus Christ is. He knew he was denying Christ. But we tend to look at him as a traitor without going through the emotions with him. When His Lord is on the cross, Peter feels abandoned, he’s angry and he feels lonely.
Lord, we were always together! Lord, you were my strength. I was your sheep, you were my shepherd. You healed the blind. The children that came to you, you hugged them and showed them compassion. You cried after Lazerus. Now you’re up there. On the cross. Why couldn’t you just stop them? Why couldn’t you just wipe them out? Why do you have to leave me? I need you Lord!
Saint Peter was terrified. The person he loved so much, depended on so much, is now on the cross. He feels so lost and lonely right now and then three people try and get him into trouble. So he yells out ‘I don’t know him! I don’t know him!’ He runs away and sobs bitterly by himself. He does all this because he loves Him so much, he’s just scared! The thought of Him not being in the picture just freezes his bones! But Peter didn’t realise that Our Lord was with him the whole time. He never left him.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
Thinking about this has just made me fall in love with Saint Peter. I see myself in him in so many ways. In times of trouble, I feel lonely and abandoned. But just as Christ never left Peter, Christ never leaves me.
“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” – Psalm 118:6
I feel jealous though – I want to feel dependent on God just as Saint Peter did. Lord, I want to feel lost without You. I want to feel so completed with You that when I’m not with You, I feel there’s something big missing.
Lord, help me feel Your presence in my life. Help me feel whole again.