...AND PETER! (OR YOU)
Scripture Reading: Mark 16:1-7...
In this last chapter of the Gospel of Mark we are told that early in the morning of the first day of the week, several women came to the tomb where Jesus had been buried; & they brought spices to anoint Him.
But there were met by an Angel who said; "Don't be alarmed...you're looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified..He is not here--He has been raised...But go, tell His disciples and Peter."
You know, its those last 2 words that'll make tears come to your eyes, whether you want them to or not: "And Peter." (Go tell all of them, "And Peter")
Why didn't the Lord single out John, the beloved disciple or Thomas? Why didn't He give special attention to the doubter?
Why did He single out Peter from all the others? Because Peter was guilty of a sin that was so serious that he PROBABLY wondered if he was even in good standing with the Lord.
Peter had denied Christ! And Jesus Himself had solemnly warned His disciples; "Whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in Heaven."
Suppose YOU had been Peter? How would you have felt if you had denied the Lord? (Like Peter had). Don't you just know that you would have had thoughts something like these?
"I've actually committed this awful sin. I, Peter, who was with the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration. I, Peter, who was with the Lord in the garden of Gethsemane; I, Peter, who was so close to Him have denied Him & now, I'm done for....
"And to think the Lord warned me, but I didn't believe Him. I just didn't' believe that I could ever do such a thing as that..."
"But I did, not just one time, or two times, but three times & even after I had argued that I could never forsake Him & would even lay down my life for Him."
"After all we went through together, & as close as we were, I, Peter, denied Him, even to a servant girl....Even after I had confessed Him to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God; after all that; I have denied Him...."
"And He knew that I had denied Him; I can't get it out of my mind how He turned & looked at me, there in the judgement hall..."
And I have cried & wept & cried until there's nothing left to cry. And still, tears can't undo that sin..."
"I, Peter, have denied the Lord." Don't you know, Peter's mind must have been whirling as he remembered the gruesome events of the past day or two.
But wouldn't yours, if it had been you? Don't we feel like we would have gone crazy, if it had been us?
Maybe he, Peter got some consolation from the memory of the events that took place before that nightmare; but still he had denied the Lord.
Could he ever forget? No, sir; NEVER. Peter could never forget.
But the risen Lord, with 2 little words, could do away with all his fears & heartbreak & regret. Peter had sinned; sure he had, but the Lord had sent him a message, a special message to let him know that Peter was still His & that Peter was still the object of His tender love.
"Go tell his disciples, AND PETER, he goeth before you into Galilee: There shall ye see Him."
The disciples were going to see the Lord & Peter was going with them. Peter was going to look into the face of the one he had denied.
That short, simple message from the Lord changed the whole outlook for Peter. There would be no strings attached, Nothing to blur his vision. That message told Peter that the great yawning gulf between him & his Lord had been bridged by love.
Mark is the only writer of the 4 Gospels who records the words; "and Peter". And rightly so I think. Mark was closely associated with Peter; In fact, so closely that some scholars think he was Peter's secretary. Mark had learned a lot from Peter about the Lord & its very likely it was from His lips that he heard these words, for they must have been indelibly written in Peter's heart.
People, you want a special blessing this Easter Sunday? Then take your pencil & just under Peter's name in that 7th verse, write your name. (I have already done it in My Bible).
Let me ask you when you come into God's House and you open your heart up to Him, does the memory of your past shortcomings just seem to sweep over you?
You have confessed your sins; You've wept those tears of repentance; You have truly repented. But doesn't it seem like, sometimes, that there's an awful sense of distance between you & your Lord? And sometimes we feel like we're just overwhelmed by those past denials.
Friends, we do like Peter so many times, "deny our Lord." "I" do, and oh, the shame, the guilt, the darkness when "I" get outside the circle of His Love.
But this whole message this morning boils down to this. When you get out of the circle, when you find that gulf between you & the Lord, don't try to bridge the gap yourself, leave that to Him, whose love could reach out to Peter & draw him out of the cold climate of his sin-consciousness into the warmth of His love & the glory of His fellowship.
You know, Peter might have stayed out there in the darkness crying bitterly "If" the Lord hadn't sent that special message of love: "Go tell my disciples, AND PETER."
And there's no need of YOU staying out there, either. Christ doesn't want you out there. And he's still sending the message: "Go tell my disciples & Peter & Al & Jane & Bob & Sue & Jim..." He's still sending that message to you.
And you know something, this little piece of information about Peter has been recorded in God's Bible & preserved for You who are "conscious of your sin" like Peter was.
But the message of Easter is, our Lord doesn't want your lack of love, or your past sins to Keep you away from Him.
He died that horrible death of crucifixion in order that YOU might be forgiven of those very sins.
"Go tell my disciples & Him & Her, I live & because I live, Ye may live also."