Easter Then and Now

     The details of the crucifixion are recorded in all four of the gospels.  There is so much to be learned from what's written from the accounts during the last couple of days before Jesus would die and ultimately rise again.  One of the most powerful accounts of failure and love is what happened to Peter.  Peter had just told Jesus that He would follow Him wherever He goes, even if it means death.  Then later in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asks Peter and the other disciples to watch and pray while He pleads with God the Father for there to be another way.  Jesus is praying, agonizing over what is about to happen, and when He goes back to Peter and the disciples, He finds them sleeping.  Then later after Jesus is arrested, Peter denies knowing Jesus, not once, not twice, but three times just as Jesus had told him he would do.  This would be known as one of Peter's greatest failures.  What is worse, is from what we know, Peter disappears and has no more contact with Jesus before his death on the cross.  What would happen to Peter?  Surely denouncing his relationship with Jesus would cost him his salvation.  After all, to our knowledge, Peter was fearful for his life and went into hiding.  We have no record of him being at Calvary when Jesus was crucified.  Peter reminds me so much of myself.  He had those moments of great faith, but they were overshadowed by his moments of failure.  Big faith, but bigger failure.  Unfortunately, Jesus had predicted that Peter would deny even knowing Him when push came to shove, and sure enough, Peter did exactly as Jesus had said.  Can you imagine how Peter must have felt?  He must have felt like Jesus was so disappointed in him, that he would never see Him again. (Mark 14:29-72)

     It makes sense, because even though Jesus had told the disciples several times that He would be crucified and rise on the third day, not one of the disciples was first on the scene to witness the empty tomb.  Given the events of the past 72 hours, Peter must have felt like he had blown it.  After all, Peter had denied ever knowing Jesus.  What's worse, was Jesus knew it. 

     But here is the beautiful part.  When the women came to the tomb, an angel tells them that Jesus had risen, and then he tells them to "Tell His disciples, and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you."   He made sure to call Peter by name!  I believe Jesus wanted Peter to know that God's love far outweighs our failure! (Mark 16:7)

     Do you feel like you have just blown it with God?  Do you feel like you've done something that has caused Him to give up on you and cast you aside?  When you pray, you feel like no one is listening because at some point, you've crossed the line and now God has better things to do than to hear your problems, let alone do anything to help you     .  Here is something you may not even realize; He knew you would mess up or in your own way, deny Him before you ever did it.  But God spoke to someone and instructed them to invite you to come to church, much like the angel instructed the women to tell Peter to get to Galilee so he could see Jesus.  You went.  You heard the good news.  Now you know that hope is not lost and that Christ arose for you.  Don't go back into hiding!  Pursue the One who is pursuing you everyday!  Don't disconnect from the other disciples and followers of Christ!  Make a difference for Him!