Have you experienced the death of a dream? Maybe a G.P.A. that didn’t turn out so good (pun intended). Or, maybe a family member who disappoints continually, or a health or financial situation from which there seems to be no hope or deliverance.
What about the death of your dream for your nation?
Peter experienced the death of his dream. His dream, like many under Roman rule, seems to have been along the lines of messianic deliverance from the Romans. This type of thinking was common among the average Jew as well as the priestly class. Jews interpreted Rome’s presence as punishment from God due to Israel’s national sin (they’d cite Lev. 26, Deut. 28). So, it made perfect sense to the Pharisees to become the thought police of the nation in order to corral everyone into obedience (good luck with that). They started with the 10 commandments and in an effort to not miss any possible sin, they studied, discussed and added any and every conceivable sin for which God might be disciplining Israel. They ended up with 613 commands that everyone had to follow. Their thinking was that when enough people started obeying, that would give God the freedom to remove His hand of discipline and deliver them from the Romans. Sounds good, except, that’s not the way it works.
So, Peter, thinking along these lines of national deliverance, and the likely physical confrontation (fighting) that would ensue, doesn’t know how to understand Jesus when Jesus tells him that Peter will deny him! Peter is quick to counter with a statement of fidelity even to death. Why so confident? He’s likely thinking of the ensuing physical battle from which he is quite assured he will not flee. But there was a different kind of battle waging – one that Peter never saw coming – a spiritual battle. A battle where Rome played no significant part. How could it be that the Messiah would come and go and Rome would still be in power? Peter was so physical in this thinking that he couldn’t see spiritually.
Some dreams we choose, shape and pursue intentionally. Like training for an Olympic distance Triathlon. Other dreams are more embedded into our psyche by the culture in which we live – they reside deep within and we are sometimes not even able to identify them. These are the kinds of dreams that Peter had. And, to be fair, every other Jew in Palestine had the same dream – it was the way their culture interpreted the brutal injustice and violence they experienced under Roman rule. Their dream was Messianic deliverance from Rome. It was their hope. It was their mental movie of their future. And it all came unraveled when Jesus was arrested and the Sanhedrin thrust Jesus through an illegal night trial to kill him.
That’s why after Jesus was killed, they had no hope. They were terrified and went home and locked the doors (John 20:10, 19). They realized that they too could be hunted down and arrested.
But, after the resurrection, they started the process of re-scripting their mental movie of who Jesus was, and what he came to accomplish. Those had to be interesting days. Give me a time machine and I’d love to hear some of those post resurrection conversations!
The loss of a dream is difficult, but it’s fertile ground for seeing God’s hand in our situation from His perspective.
Have your dreams been broken? Or, are they being broken today? Take the opportunity to hold them in open hands and allow God to re-script your dreams. God is in the middle of a great spiritual work in your life. Physical pain and discomfort are often signs that something spiritually significant could be approaching.
It maybe painful, but if it leads us to alignment with God’s purpose in our lives, it’s also good.