The Easter Eclipse

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The Apostle who walked on water, testified to Jesus’ deity, and saw the Son of God transfigured was also the very one targeted for turmoil (Matthew 14:29; 16:16;17:1-4). With a violent upheaval, Satan demanded to overthrow Peter’s faith (Luke 22:31). 

Of course, Peter resolutely rejected this idea. His experiences with Jesus were too many. His love for Him was too strong (Luke 22:33).

Yet, we know that Peter’s boasting and promises fizzled with a few simple questions. He denied knowing the very Man he had vowed to protect (Luke 22:54-60). “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter” (Luke 22:61). “And (Peter) went out and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75). 

Wept bitterly. The Greek words give us insight into the depths of that despair. Klaiō (wept) was often used as a mourning or lament for the dead, while pikrōs (bitterlyheld a poignant sense of regret. This second word (pikrōs) is used only twice in the Bible – both about Peter.

Peter wasn’t at the crucifixion. He didn’t watch the ordeal to know the depths of his despair. He was humiliated and realized that all his boastings had been just smoke and mirrors. He had failed. 

Or had he?

The Lord has really risen, and has appeared to Simon” (Luke 24:34).

Peter’s actions didn’t preclude Jesus from seeking after him. Jesus had prayed for Peter long before his dark act of denial. This prayer wasn’t that Peter behave correctly or make good on all his promises. Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail, and “He was heard (Luke 22:32). The Greek word ekleipo (fail) is where we get our English verb “eclipse.” Jesus prayed that even Peter’s darkest night wouldn’t obscure the light of his faith. 

From Peter’s perspective, his attitudes and actions bottomed out. Discouragement, hopelessness, and dismay overshadowed anything he had “attained.” But, from God’s vantage point, this was not an eclipse of faith but an illumination. As Dutch missionary Andrew Murray says, “Faith grows best in the dark.” 

Just as the moon can block sunlight onto Earth, life can obstruct God’s goodness. Betrayal, hurt, and disappointment has a way of blinding our eyes from His Light. Although experience can eclipse how we see God, they don’t have to black out our trust. 

Jesus is praying that your faith will not fail. The Father knows that every shadowing of the Son is only temporary for His children. No eclipse lasts all night, for nothing can separate you from the love of God (Romans 8:39).

One day, perspective will change, and the eclipse which has held us in darkness will shift. We can become a source of strength for those experiencing their gloomy night. “When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32). 

“Yes, Lord, hasten the day.”