“Luke 24: While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.
And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them,
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”
And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles,
but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.”
Peter was the disciple who betrayed Christ even when he declared that he would -on his honor- do no such thing. I’ve been there, Peter. I’ve declared promises to God – that I wouldn’t forsake Him. That I would be holy as He is holy. That I would not be one of those hypocrites.
And I’ve betrayed Him big time.
Peter, I’m with you and I can relate to the weight of despondency you must have felt after Christ was buried. All you’ve stood for and learned you tossed overboard and lived out of fear.
Man, have I been there.
In my guilt and shame for betraying Christ, I’ve been like Peter before the women came and told him their “idle tale.”
Have you? Are you there right now? I remember breaking up with a boyfriend who I compromised physically with and feeling the weight of betrayal HUGE and HEAVY. It was a desperate realization that I had done exactly what I swore I would never do. And it wasn’t simply a sad moment of self-realization, but it was a scales-falling-off-of-my-eyes moment where I stood before a perfect God on trial and my balance was more than negative.
I owed BIG BILLS. Can I get an amen?!?!?
Because of that moment of honesty, I realized that I never really saw my sin for what it was. My huge betrayal brought me moaning to my knees for how even my daily betrayals – all of them, they were the sentence sending Jesus to His death. And me, flat on my face, deeply guilty and not any part of me able to justify an ounce of my betrayal – I saw how much I deserved punishment and NOT to be a child of God.
My huge betrayal brought me moaning to my knees for how even my daily betrayals – all of them, they were the sentence sending Jesus to His death.
But, I love Peter in this moment.
The pulse-quickening wonder, spirit-filled hope that spurs Peter to the tomb I can totally relate with.
Because it’s when I was flat on my face desperate for hope, that His whisper was the most precious. And His timing was so wonderfully perfect. Out of grace, He let me see how dark and wicked I was. So I could know and see rightly how good, perfect, and merciful He is. To see Jesus on the Cross, whispering my name, knowing full well my sins – I can’t get over it.
No, Easter is not over for me. It won’t ever be over.
And I can relate to Peter in his being the only one to dare to believe the idle tale. To be the one who felt their betrayal most deep is to be the one most ridiculously desperate for hope. God had all the reasons, literally, in the world to not come back for Peter — for me. The smallest hint of light, that’s all I needed to hunt down hope. That’s all Peter needed.
Dare the “idle tale” be true?! Peter pounded out of the house hope raging inside that this idle tale would be true.
What did he have to lose?! What do we?!
He sought the truth and he found it.
Truth in an empty tomb. A Savior no longer seen, but amazingly gone. And Peter’s betrayal no longer carried the power He thought it did. It wasn’t weighty enough to keep Jesus in the grave.
Scripture says he went home marveling at what he’d seen. Marveling at the hope that Jesus conquers our sinful reality. That’s what I need to keep with me today – the marvel that my sin is not weighty enough to keep Jesus in the grave. He rose, not despite my betrayals, but because of MY betrayals. He rose to rescue us from our sinfulness.
Today won’t you join me and Peter marveling because Jesus is our Savior.