And Peter

And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you” (Mark 16:6, 7, KJV).

“And Peter”: These are the two most beautiful words in the Bible. Our blessed Lord Christ Jesus had assured Peter that he would deny Him when he (Jesus) would be captured. Peter denied this, of course. Classic, Peter! He was confident that he would not fall away from his Lord. When Jesus was captured by the guards and taken for trial, Peter, as it were, had three encounters with those that knew him to be one of Jesus’ disciples. Being questioned—he denied three times—the cock crowed three times—as foretold by Jesus Christ.

Guilt and shame was all over Peter. How would he behold Christ again in the face after such a turn down? We’ve all been in Peter’s shoe. I have, certainly! But it’s not about us, it’s about Him. God knew how this man felt. He knew that Peter felt the weight of guilt pulling him down, “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly” (Matt. 26:75). Italics mine.

But behold the message that is sent to the rest, and most particularly, to Peter. “But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter  that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you” (Mk. 16:7). And who has gone before him (Peter) into Galilee? Yes, the Lord Christ Jesus! Him whom he denied three times. Therein is the grace and mercy of our Lord Christ Jesus.

We may be turned away by men that we’ve wronged. But God certainly does not turn us away. He welcomes us most gently. God is not man that He should cast us away. Our Lord did not say, “Tell my disciples, and that filthy, shaky and feeble, Peter, to meet me in Galilee…” No! He knew Peter loved him, yea, even though he denied the Christ. He must, as it were, re-assure, Peter, of his eternal love for him.

It is He who chose, called, and named him. Chose him from before the foundations of the earth. Called him at the start of his ministry to be a fisher of men. And lo, named him—a Rock.

At this point it must have meant a lot to Peter that the Lord did not condemn him but loved him even in his unfaithfulness (Rom. 8:1). And we are taken further (by John) to that series of exchange and exhorations our Lord Christ Jesus had with Peter:

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.

And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me” (John 21:15, 19, KJV).

Love is stronger than death. Praise God, dear reader, that we may turn to God who will not turn us away but welcome us in the mercy of His Son ‘that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need’ (Heb. 4:16). 

“And Peter!”

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