April 15th, 2022
We read much about Peter in the Bible. Peter was one of the first disciples that Jesus called. It was Peter's boat Jesus used to preach to the crowd. Peter became the outgoing leader of the early disciples. It was Peter to whom Jesus said,
"Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my
church" (speaking about Peter's declaration that Jesus was the Son of the Living God). It was Peter when Jesus wanted to wash the disciples' feet said, "Not mine", but when Jesus said
"if I do not wash your feet you have no part of me", Peter answered "wash not just my feet but my head and hands also". It was Peter who asked Jesus about needing a sword. It was Peter who stepped out of the boat and walked on the water. It was Peter, along with James and John, who could not stay awake when Jesus asked them to watch and pray. It was Peter who cut off the ear of one who came to take Jesus away. It was Peter who bragged to Jesus that he would never deny him, and Jesus answered,
"before the cock crows you will deny me three times." It was Peter watching on when Jesus was being beaten who denied Jesus three times when asked "do you know him". It was Peter who went out after this and wept bitterly.
Now we find that Jesus was crucified for the sins of mankind. As prophesied hundreds of years before by the prophet Isaiah and others.
Isaiah 53 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no [a]form or [b]comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no [c]beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and [d]rejected by men, A Man of [e]sorrows and acquainted with [f]grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our [g]griefs And carried our [h]sorrows; Yet we [i]esteemed Him stricken, [j]Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded[k] for our transgressions, He was [l]bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes[m] we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD [n]has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to [q]bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
11 [r]He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the [s]spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.
The four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) cover the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
Luke 23 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 [h]Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots. 35 And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God."
36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself."
38 And an inscription also was [i]written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, [j]"If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said [k]to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."
43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
44 Now it [l]was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was [m]darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in [n]two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.' " Having said this, He breathed His last.
47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous Man!"
48 And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned. 49 But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
50 Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. 51 He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who[o] himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. 54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.
55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.
And Jesus arose!
Mark 16 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.
3 And they said among themselves, "Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?" 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away-for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
6 But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples-and Peter-that He is going [a]before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you."
Peter the leader of the disciples. Peter who said he would never leave Jesus. Peter the boastful. Peter who watched them carry Jesus away and did nothing. Peter, the big brawny fisherman, watched on while they beat Jesus. Peter who had denied Jesus in his most time of need. Peter who after his three-time denial as Jesus predicted, went out and wept bitterly. Peter, whom at that time was planning on going back to his life as a fisherman again. Peter, who had followed Jesus for three years and now that what he thought was going to happen, Jesus establishes an earthly kingdom, watched him being beaten and put to death. Peter, who was feeling at that time the lowest of the low. Peter, who felt he had no place with Jesus after his denial.
Mark 16:7 "But go and tell his disciples - and Peter - that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you".
Jesus loved Peter enough to make sure that the Angel told the women in the empty tomb to seek out the disciples and Peter and tell of his resurrection.
John 20 Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."
3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the [a]handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not [b]know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes. And Peter.
Peter was the first disciple inside the empty tomb.
Peter was the one who said after Jesus resurrection, "I am going fishing". He and some of the other disciples who joined him fished all night and caught nothing. Jesus appeared on the shore and Peter was the first one out of the boat to go see Jesus.
It was to Peter that Jesus charged "Feed my sheep" (John 21:15-19).
It was Peter who, after receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, gave the sermon where 3000 men were saved, the first revival that started the Christian church.
Aren't we all a lot like Peter? I know I am.
I, like Peter, am hardheaded. I am prideful at times. I am selfish much more often than I like. I say things I don't mean at times. I am boastful. I am seeking what is best for me. There have been many times throughout my life where my actions didn't show that I was a Christian, but that, like Peter, my actions denied my knowing Jesus. I sulk like Peter when I don't get my way. I am sometimes envious of others when it appears they have it better than I do. Yet, like Peter, Jesus seeks me out, comforts me, forgives me of my sin, gives me his peace, and shows me how much He loves me. And uses me to reach others.
Aren't you a lot like Peter also?
God loves us more than we know. We cannot comprehend His love for us. We cannot fully understand why Jesus, the Son of God, would leave his throne in Heaven to come to earth as a baby in human form, live a sinless life as an example for us all, and go to a cruel cross to voluntarily die in my place and in yours, to take upon Himself the guilt and shame of sin, in our place, in order to pay the price for our sin so that we may one day be reunited with God for eternity in Heaven.
We are all "and Peter". There are times when we are shameful of our actions. But, like Peter, God sends for us and lovingly reestablishes our place with Him.
This Easter season when we celebrate the risen Jesus as our Lord and Savior, remember not only Jesus but Peter. Jesus shows us the love of God. Peter shows us the sinfulness of man. "And Peter" shows us how God reaches out to us even in our sin and draws us back to Himself.
Celebrate what Jesus did for you by dying on the cross for your sins, but raising from the dead to show us victory over sin and death and to give us a gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
He is risen! And this one act changed history of the world and of Heaven. Jesus, who rose from the dead, gives us the victory.
Let's all of us "Peters" celebrate today what Jesus has done for us all.
If you have never accepted the love of God that is shown through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, then this is a free gift. It only requires your belief. If you have never accepted Jesus, pray this prayer with me. "God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that Jesus died a cruel death, taking my sin, in order to bring me back to a Holy God. I accept that Jesus died for my sins, and that he rose from the dead, in order to save me and provide for me eternal life in Heaven. I accept Jesus this day as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, God, for saving me. Amen."
God bless us all on this most Holy of celebrations. Jesus is alive!