Today’s reading is Mark 16
On Monday, Chet wrote about Peter’s betrayal of Jesus and Jesus’ beautiful example of forgiveness of Peter before Peter even betrayed Jesus. Today I want to look at what happened after Peter betrayed Jesus.
Peter told Jesus “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” Peter responded, “NO even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” Then a few verses later in the chapter we find out that on separate occasions, Peter denied that he knew Jesus three times in one night. Peter heard the rooster crow and then Jesus’ words flash through his mind. He was faced with the realization that he had actually done exactly what he had emphatically declared to Jesus’ face that he would never do. He broke down and wept. Does your heart go out to Peter? Mine does! I promise myself and sometimes others that I won’t do or say something, and then before I know it, I find myself doing or saying exactly what I said I wouldn’t. It is bad enough to break a promise to our selves but poor Peter broke a promise to Jesus…and then Jesus was killed! Can you imagine the pain and shame he must have been filled with for the three days that Jesus was gone? Peter had no way to seek forgiveness or reassurance from Jesus because He was dead. I can only imagine how small Peter must have felt before God and his friends. He must have been devastated and broken. Then Mark 16:7 tells us that the angel in Jesus’ grave told the ladies who had come to prepare Jesus’ body for burial that Jesus was risen from the dead. The angel told the ladies to go and tell Jesus’ disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee, you will see Him there. Do you see the forgiveness and redemption in those two words between the commas? The angel said, “including Peter”. God new the shame that was debilitating Peter at this moment in time and He chose to be clear, that Peter was still included in Jesus posy. If this doesn’t display God’s personal love for us, then I don’t know what does. In the midst of our messiest messes he reaches out and offers us help and redemption if we choose to take Him up on His offer. Also proof that we can’t earn His gifts of relationship and forgiveness. He loves us just as we are no matter how broken or messed up we are. The sweet, sweet story of the gospel of Christ!
Let’s sit with that for a moment. We matter to the creator of the universe. Our feelings, thoughts and actions are known to the Almighty, and He acts in our stead to save, protect and love each of us. At this very moment He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand listening to us, considering our circumstances and guiding those of us who seek Him. I can think of no better way to be encouraged this morning than to spend some time soaking in the truth that I matter to Jesus…so much so that He gave His life to make a way for me to have relationship with Him, His Father, and The Spirit.