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Lent reflection Cover Image

The denial, John 18:15-27

12th Apr 2019

15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. 17 The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.19 Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20 Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed. (NRSV) 

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He gave His blood

Sunday evenings often find me sat among family, Christian brothers and sisters, lit by candle light sharing in God’s word, fellowship, worship and love. Last Sunday was no different, it was my first Sunday back in Guatemala having had a few weeks in the UK with family and friends over Christmas. It was a beautiful evening, the air was warm and as usual there was a sense of peace within the walls of Union Church.

I sat between close friends at a small round table, centred with a single candle, Bibles and service cards scattered between tea, coffee and snacks. I have always felt at home with the informality of our contemporary, ‘worship experience’ service. As we prepared our hearts to share in the Lord’s supper, which I have found to be an anchor in my life as we partake in remembrance of His sacrifice every week, our preacher spoke of Jesus’ blood.

It was like a light went on in my head and my heart. I have known and understood Jesus’ sacrifice in new ways throughout my Christian walk, as with many things new revelations come and new understanding is revealed. Now I was understanding the cross as a ‘blood sacrifice.’

The reason why this stood out to me in a new way is rooted in the heart of the work of our street team here at ‘Street Kids Direct (SKD) Guatemala,’ a foundation that works with children and young people living at high-risk of ending up on the streets in Guatemala City.

Last year our team were helping a young man who has been through some horrendous ordeals in his life on the streets including being stabbed, shot and the latest being run over. He is a medical marvel because after what he has been through, it is incredible that he is still alive. I remember visiting him in hospital with Ben, the coordinator of the SKD Guatemala street team, shortly after he had been run over. His leg was badly damaged, and he needed blood to be donated for his operation. Ben and other team members supported him through his recovery and gave blood for his medical needs.
Unfortunately, even after being given other options and opportunities the draw of the drugs and the false freedom he felt from his life on the streets lead him straight back there.

I recall talking with Ben and hearing how he had been supporting this young man for some time, the different ways he gave his time, attention, care and love to him. He even gave his blood. I was inspired to write a piece that captured this complex relationship of giving of oneself to support someone who takes and yet change does not come. The struggle to keep on giving, the struggle to sacrifice more. However, I rarely got beyond the title, ‘I even gave my blood.’ There didn’t seem to be a way into this heart-rending battle.

Until last Sunday as I sat in Church, about to drink and eat in remembrance of Jesus’ ‘blood’ sacrifice. I saw a new glimpse of the depth of pain it cost to give blood for a humanity that was so underserving and slow to change. Yet He still gave His blood, knowing the cost and the truth that many would still reject Him and make light of His sacrifice.

The challenge is real, to give as sacrificially as Jesus, give of ourselves, our time, compassion, aid, love, support, finances, resources, talents and even our blood. If Jesus was willing to give His life, then maybe we can be willing to give more of ourselves, more freely, regardless of the outcome. I am inspired by people like Ben who are able to give so much of who they are and are willing to even give their blood to support someone else and love them. Even when, especially when, there is no guarantee they will appreciate it or accept the help and make changes in their lives.

To give freely without reservation or condition.
Because He gave His blood.

https://www.streetkidsdirect.org.uk/index.php/blogs/staff-blogs/azaria-spencer

 

Azaria Spencer, St John's alumnus, Coordinator of Communications: Street Kids Direct UK Mission Partner: Church Mission Society