On the morning of Christ’s resurrection, an angel told Mary Magdalene and the other women that Christ had risen from the dead. The angel said: “ go quickly and tell his disciples.” In the gospel of Mark, we have record where the angel said: “ go, tell his disciples and Peter…” ( Mark 16: 7).
Why did the angel mention Peter by name in this resurrection announcement? Perhaps it was because he had denied the Lord three times and desperately needed to know Christ was alive and still loved him.
Peter was a fisherman by trade and was called by Jesus to be one of his disciples. In fact, Peter becomes the most prominent of the 12 disciples. Peter began to follow Jesus, but he had his share of problems.
He was inconsistent and impulsive; sometimes the first to act or speak. At times he was boastful. He was a man of extremes. He was unpredictable. He made rash statements and promises and then had trouble backing them up with actions.
He often talked big, but walked small. At times he was bold and courageous; at other times, he was weak and cowardly. He had his moments of great insight, and yet, at other times, he seemed slow to understand Christ’s teachings.
He was one of three disciples to accompany Christ to the Mount of Transfiguration.
Yet, it was this same man who denied the Lord after promising him that he would never desert him. He even said he was willing to go to prison and die for Christ.
So the angel said: “ tell his disciples and Peter that he has risen from the dead.”
Why did Peter need to be told that Jesus was alive?
Peter needed to know he was not forsaken.
Even though he had miserably failed Christ by denying him, Jesus wanted him to know he was still greatly loved and had not been written off.
We too, have denied and failed Jesus. Failure is a serious thing, but Christ’s death and resurrection was for people who are broken by sin, failure, disobedience and neglect.
Failure does not have to be final. We can learn from our mistakes. We can be restored from failure to faith through the Living Christ.
Peter needed to know he had been forgiven.
That is what the message of the cross and the empty tomb are all about — forgiveness, reconciliation, a new start, a new day for those who have failed.
There is hope in Christ, regardless of who we are, what we have done and where we have been.
While it breaks the heart of God that we fail, it breaks his heart even more when we go on in our failure without finding forgiveness and moving positively forward.
Peter needed to know he still had a future with Jesus.
Jesus had great plans for Peter. He had a tremendous future for both him as well as us today, regardless of our faults, flaws and failures. Once we are forgiven, Christ’s focus is on our future, not on the failure of our past.
Peter was one of the first to run to the empty tomb after being told Jesus was alive. He actually saw the resurrected Christ and was with the other disciples when Christ ascended back into heaven.
He was among the disciples who prayed in the upper room in Jerusalem, and was one who experienced the dramatic filling of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
He became one of the great leaders of the early church and became the apostle to the Gentiles.
He preached a great message on the Day of Pentecost and 3,000 people were converted to Christianity.
He was imprisoned for his faith on several occasions, and was delivered on one occasion from prison by an angel of the Lord.
Peter became a man whose very shadow healed people. He performed miracles and continued, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to carry out Christ’s commission to go into all the world and make disciples.
He wrote two New Testament books — first and second Peter.
Tradition has it that Peter was crucified upside- down, saying he was not worthy to be crucified the same way in which Christ died.
When the angel said: “... tell Peter..,” it really meant something.
Peter needed to know he had not been forsaken; he had been forgiven and he had a future with Jesus.
Perhaps you need to be reminded of the same.
God loves you as much as he loved Peter, and he has a great plan for your life, regardless of your past or your failures.
You too, can come from failure to faith if you will place your trust in the death and resurrection of the Living Christ.
Do it today and move into his new future for you. Rev. Wayne Rutherford LifePointe Church
of the Nazarene