There’s one phrase we could almost overlook, but for me, it’s full of hope and love and the real human compassion of Jesus. So every single year I flip through pages to find it and over and over I read these two words…
… and Peter.
Early Easter morning Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, and Salome went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. They found the stone had been rolled back and they entered the tomb. Alarmed, they saw a man in a long white robe sitting there. He told them that Jesus, for whom they were looking, had been resurrected! He then instructed them to go and tell the disciples. The Gospel of Mark adds: But go, tell his disciples and Peter. He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there just as he told you. So the women left and did just as the angel told them to do.
And Peter. The angel singled out Peter. Why is this important and why is it so dear?
Because Peter was paralyzed by his denial.
Because we are like Peter.
Peter was in deep grief, confused by all that had happened, fearful for his life, not knowing where to turn. His mind must have been assaulted by the replay of his own memories and the rampant rumors that found their way to the disciples’ hiding place. Can you imagine the moment the women arrived telling the disciples an angel had told them of Jesus’ resurrection? Can we imagine what it was like for Peter when the exact words were perhaps repeated again and again, But go, tell his disciples and Peter.
Could the fog in his mind and the hurt in his heart eased just a little? Would he have the chance to see Jesus again? Oh, if it could be true! Did his mind agonize over thoughts of a second chance being too good to be true?
It is not too good to be true. It is true. For Peter and for us. Jesus is alive.
Jesus had a private meeting with Peter that day. Luke 24: 34 recounts words from a few disciples returning from Emmaus, The Lord has certainly been raised and has appeared to Simon! We only know it happened. What was said and what happened in Peter’s heart are hidden from us.
Jesus is still in the business of holding private meetings with those yearning for a second chance.
Jesus restored Peter privately and he also restored him publicly.
If you ever wonder as I have, why Jesus questioned Peter about his love for him in front of all the other disciples, here’s what Dr. James Boice relays to us:
“Yet in the ultimate analysis it was not cruel. The truly cruel thing would have been to let the mater go on festering in Peter so that throughout his entire life both he and the others would think that he was somehow inferior and unworthy of office… the kind thing was the public restoration, so that Peter and the others would know that Peter’s past was past.”
This day, this celebration of The Resurrection and The Life, isn’t it glorious to know Jesus is alive and in Him, our past is past!
Question: Have you had a private meeting with Jesus?
Prayer: Father, Son, Spirit, Thank you that you are still drawing us to yourself for private meetings. It takes my breath away – the privilege of private meetings with you and the good of public ones. Above all, thank you for raising your Son to life.Thank you that you alone are the Author of Life. I praise your Name this day and my heart sings in joy of resurrection! Amen.
The Store of the Resurrection: Matthew 28: 1-10; Mark 16: 1-11; Luke 24: 1-12; John 20: 1-18 Photographs from my trip to Israel: He is Risen!