Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"And Peter"

I am always struck by the Gospel of Mark’s account of the Easter story. It is short and to the point but it adds two words that speak volumes. Those two words are: “and Peter.” In Mark 16:6-7 the angel in the tomb tells the women “Do not be alarmed, you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised, he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee, there you will see him, just as he told you.”

Peter was one of the disciples. Why didn’t the angel say “Go tell his disciples that he is going ahead of you to Galilee”? He included Peter’s name. This can be nothing other than a word of grace to the distraught disciple who denied Jesus in a moment of fear and panic. How Peter must have suffered from guilt and shame during that terrible weekend. But to get this message on Easter Sunday that was especially for him must have sent his heart soaring. Jesus knew he needed to be drawn back in. Jesus knew he had to call Peter by name in order to make it clear that all was forgiven and there was new work for him to do.

You and I have denied the Lord many times and have fallen short of God’s call for our life. Remember the grace and mercy of Jesus to forgive you. Take that verse from Mark 16:7 and replace Peter’s name with your name and know that Jesus calls you by name to receive forgiveness and then go forward into renewed service. Jesus goes ahead of us to lead the way. We don’t go alone and we don’t have to chart the path. Easter Sunday is an eternal day of forgiveness, new life and a call to mission.

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