Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Compromise (Watchmen)

"Peter, do you limitlessly love me?"

"Yes, Lord. You know that I love you, like a brother."

"Do you limitlessly love me?"

"Yes, Lord. You know that I love you, like a brother."

"Do you love me like a brother?"

Peter was grieved because Jesus said this a third time. In the Hebraic tradition, saying something a third time brings it to its completion, its max, can Peter really love this much?

"Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you like a brother."

And, Jesus prophesied Peter's death saying, "Follow me."

This is an odd place to start. This is the end. But, it explains everything.

For a time, there was the "Nite Owl-Rorschach Team." While the other heroes had shied away, hidden from the public spotlight, Nite Owl and Rorschach carried on. There mission to help the innocent was never over.

Time and again, they proved themselves to one another. They became close, maybe even friends. But, they never lost sight of the point. They always had the people on their minds. Their focus remained solely on the lives they would have to save.

Well, at least that was true for Rorschach.

Although Nite Owl is pretty slick, the Batman of the Watchmen, time and again he finds himself lacking. There is always a temptress, a false god, or a selfish distraction that drives him away from their original goal.

No matter how good his motives are, he messes up. Rorschach can't believe it half the time. But, Nite Owl always seems to give in to temptation. And, he forgets his responsibilities.

I can never really understand why Thomas is called "the doubting disciple," when Peter has doubted so much more.

Peter reminds me of the seed that was sown on rocky ground. He shoots up, he immediately casts aside his fishing net to follow Jesus, he jumps out of the boat at the sight of him, and he springs into action at Christ's arrest. But, his roots are lacking. He wants to build a physical shelter for the transfigured Christ, as soon as he jumps out of the boat he calls out "Save me" giving in to the undertow, and when he lobs off the soldier's ear, he doesn't realize that Jesus is on a path. This is the way. This needs to be done.

Every single time Peter starts something, it seems like an act of faith. He's doing it for the right reason. He believes and trusts in his Lord, God. But, pretty soon afterwards, he stumbles. No matter how good his motives are, he messes up.

The most unbelievable time he does this, isn't when he's trying to walk on water or build a shelter for Moses and Elijah, but in a place that seems so much simpler.

Just moments ago, Peter was unwilling to compromise. "Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away." He says to Christ. And, when the time comes for Jesus to be taken away, he is the one who is willing to fight to the death. But, Jesus knows better.

He knows "Truly... this very night... you [Peter] will deny me three times." And, he scolds Peter for drawing his sword, "Put your sword back into its place... Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled?" "Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?"

Peter shot up, ready to defend his Lord. But, his roots are weak. He just doesn't get it.

And, to make matters worse, he finds out that Christ's prophecy was right. After Jesus was arrested, while he was standing before the high priest, "Peter stood outside the door... the servant girl... brought Peter in... [she] said to Peter, 'You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?'

He said 'I am not.'"

While Jesus was still being questioned about his disciples and his teachings, Peter was standing by the fire warming himself,

"They said to him, 'You also are not one of his disciples, are you?'

He denied it and said, 'I am not.'

One of the servants 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?'

Peter again denied it,

And at once a rooster crowed."

"And he went out and wept bitterly."

Just as Nite Owl does in the movie, Peter finds himself lost, crying out. He cannot understand the horrors that he has let come to pass. He has denied God.

Not only that, he has denied Him three times... to the max.

He compromised.

Although he had followed a man who preached about limitless love and dedication, even though, he knew Christ taught that, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." He could not. Death scared him. And, how else would they repay him for admitting he was a disciple of Jesus?

But, this is not the end of Peter's story.

Christ dies and rises on the third day. He meets up with Peter once again. And, he gives him another chance. Those words, up at the top, they're from after Christ's resurrection. Although, Peter had denied his Lord to the max. Although, Peter had compromised in the face of death. Although, Peter had lived directly against Christ's teachings. Jesus came back. He forgave him. He still loved him and had grace towards him. And, instead of scorning him or becoming angry at him, the only thing that Jesus needed to know was...

"Do you limitlessly love me?"

Peter does love him. But, he cannot understand the love without limits. His roots are still weak. And, it is only by God's giving grace that his faith and trust in God is strong enough to keep him grounded. The Spirit that descends upon him at Pentecost secures him.

Although, he had compromised at the end of his world, he denied his faith at the hour of Christ's trial, God still gives him the chance to continue where he left off, to let his roots grow and his faith shine, He blesses him in the rest of his life, and still leads the way for him to follow after.

He does the same for us.

Although we try not to compromise, we do.

But, we may rest assured knowing that He will never compromise against us.

Not even in the face of death.



  1. Rorschach gets the final word with his diary at the newspaper.

    1. Here's a good one, if you like that idea: