An angel greeted the women who’d come to put spices on the deceased body of Jesus. But Jesus had risen. The angel had a word of instruction for these devoted followers. He said to them, “Go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you” (Mark 16:7).
Why did the angel mention Peter? Of the 11 remaining disciples, why is Peter singled out? Think about it for a moment if you will. Peter is the one who before the trial and crucifixion possessed tremendous bravado. He is the one who told the Lord Jesus that he would never betray him or deny him – that he would go to the death with him!
In a tide of self-defeat, Peter does deny the Lord. When the realization hits him that the failure predicted by Jesus has come true Peter tastes the bitter flavor of self-disappointment. He goes out and weeps bitterly. And now just two and a half days later, Peter is still stinging from his complete meltdown in the face of danger.
Have you ever had one of those occasions where you are faced with the grim reality of your own brokenness? That moment when you see with unfortunate clarity just how weak you really are? The feeling of self-disappointment can be a greater burden to bear then other types of challenge. Sometimes the weight of self-defeat is like an iron ball and chain enslaving us in misery.
The text doesn’t tell us but I have to wonder if the resurrected Jesus whispered a word of instruction into the angel’s ear regarding Peter, “Make sure and mention Peter’s name.” Or, maybe the witness of the angels who observed the entire Passion event also witnessed Peter’s utter failure. Either way, what an encouragement and sign of hope it must have been once Peter received the news that his name was specifically mentioned in the context of seeing Jesus. The message was clear, “Not only is Jesus risen from the dead but also he’s still interested in a relationship with you, Peter!”
Have you in a moment of strength told Jesus what you’re going to do for him? Have you later failed to follow through on your promise? Have your faith and spiritual performance ever crashed in defeat? Take heart, Jesus is still interested in you. Just as our Lord knew that Peter would stumble and fall and had already made provision for the same, in like manner, Jesus already knows your weaknesses, when you’re going to stumble, and has already made provision for you.
So what is there left for you to do? Just return to him with your gaze firmly fixed on the sweet Savior of Heaven who has condescended to stoop and pick you up. Let him put the oil of gladness in your soul and the balm of kindness and forgiveness upon your wounded spirit.
Rise up, O saint of God, for that is what you truly are! Now go and walk in freedom and joy today!