And Peter

Have you ever been an “and Peter”?  As the story goes, Jesus and his disciples were in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus was praying when Judas, his betrayer and a mob came to drag Jesus before Caiaphas, the high priest to answer the charges against him–that He claimed to be God.   Peter followed at a distance.  When they got to the high priest’s courtyard, Peter stood by the fire warming himself, waiting to see what would become of Jesus.  While inside Jesus was being interrogated, ridiculed, mocked and beaten beyond recognition. They stripped him of his clothes and pressed a branch of a thorn bush fashioned into a crown onto his head.  He suffered physical pain, emotional humiliation and mental anguish.  He never once denied being God in the flesh to escape the torture.  He never defended himself when interrogated.   Instead he kept quiet.  Why?  For us.

Meanwhile, outside in the courtyard someone recognized Peter and pointed out to everyone there that Peter had been with Jesus–a follower.  Three times he was accused and three times he denied being a follower; he denied even knowing Jesus.  He denied Jesus in his hour of need–his friend, his Savior, his teacher; the one whom he followed and worked beside for three years day and night.

On the first day of the week after Jesus’ burial, the women went to Jesus’ tomb with herbs to anoint him, but found the tomb empty.  An angel appeared to them telling them that Jesus would appear to them in Galilee.  “Go tell his disciples and Peter to meet him there.”

It is significant that Jesus specifically requested “and Peter.”   Peter denied Christ, but Christ will never, ever deny us–no matter what we’ve done; no matter what we’ve said; no matter what …  We can hardly fathom the kind of love that Christ has for us.  The kind that would sacrifice his own life, would suffer a horrible death and humiliation and then would lovingly say, Peter, I love you, no matter what.  And whoever you are, if you are reading this, Christ is saying to you today, I love you–no matter what.  Don’t be afraid to come near to me.  Don’t think that I reject you because you have said or done things for which you are ashamed.  I loved you then. I love you still.  I always will.  Praise God! He is Risen!

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