“Now go and tell His disciples, and especially Peter, that He will go ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there, just as He told you.”
(Mark 16:7, Contemporary English Version)
And especially Peter.
The Gospel of Mark offers us an extraordinary example of God’s love. Remember? Peter denied knowing Jesus three times after He was arrested at the time of His crucifixion. Imagine Peter’s shame, guilt…the regret.
Regret is a terrible thing.
The “if only(s)” will eat you up.
I can imagine Peter’s despondency as he watched Jesus die. Peter loved Jesus. He believed Jesus was the Son of God. And yet, when confronted with his discipleship – when it counted the most – fear gripped Peter and he denied his Lord.
Jesus tried to warn Peter that this would happen. But Peter could not imagine betraying Jesus that easily. Certainly, he would never disappoint the Lord like that. Turn his back on Him? Choose self-preservation over defending the honor of Jesus? Never.
Never is a big word.
Deception is even bigger.
“The heart is most deceptive above all things.”
The very actions Peter thought he would never commit, he did.
He denied that he knew Jesus.
Just like that. He denied the Son of God.
Ewww….How easily do we turn our backs on Him? We certainly never plan to. Opportunity just sneaks in and, before we know it, the deed is done. The sin is committed. The lie is told. The disobedience is blatant. We bow to the “other gods.”
How did the Lord react to Peter’s failure?
He reacted with enormous, unconditional love! When the Angel of the Lord spoke to the women at the tomb, He told them, “Jesus is not here. He is risen! Go, tell His disciples, and especially Peter, that He will go ahead of you to Galilee.”
Jesus knew that Peter was an emotional wreck. He knew Peter had been beating himself up for three days. And He knew Peter needed acceptance and love.
Peter needed to know that his sin had been forgiven.
Isn’t that what the resurrection is all about? Sins forgiven. Reconciliation with God. Eternal love and acceptance.
Even in the most incredible moment in history – the resurrection of Jesus Christ – even then, Jesus was thinking about His disciples and their need for love.
Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Father, How often we wander away, first in the little things, inching our way towards the bigger things. Bigger according to us, that is. To you, a sin is a sin is a sin. You don’t categorize them, we do. You don’t condemn. We do. I do think you feel the sorrow and disappointment, though, and for that I am so sorry. Please forgive us when we fail You, when we break Your trust. And thank You, Lord for Your unconditional love. Even in the remarkable power exploding in the Resurrection, love was first on Your mind. You always think of the needs of Your children. You are so generous in Your love and mercy. Thank You, Father.