Thursday, April 27, 2017

Jesus Appears to His Close Friend Peter!

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”  Luke 24:34-35

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 1 Corinthians 15:4-5

Between the time Jesus appeared to the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus, and when he appeared to the disciples when were having dinner, he appeared to Peter. Of course, we all know the story of Peter's threefold denial of Jesus in the garden. We also know that he had a foot race to the tomb with Jesus' beloved disciple, John.  John got there first, but Peter went into the empty tomb first. The verse says, "John saw and believed", but we don't hear about Peter believing. 

So even though Peter personally went into the empty tomb and personally met with the resurrected Jesus, we don't see if he has yet believed. Later, in John 21, we see Jesus reinstating Peter three times, corresponding to his threefold denial.  

Bottom line: Peter had a unique with relationship with Jesus both when he was on the earth and now post resurrection. He had experienced a lot in the last week of Jesus' life. He was ready to fight and die for Jesus, when Jesus told him to put back his sword in its' sheath. Then later cowered in fear denying he even knew him.  But in the end, Jesus came to his friend and showed him that he was indeed raised from the dead, just like he had said.

Jesus' grace and mercy toward Peter gives me great comfort.  I am sure at many times we have all felt like Peter.  We have said the wrong thing at the wrong time, and not been as faithful as we would have hoped.  But Jesus loved Peter unconditionally, in spite of his failings.  Eventually, after being reinstated as the chief apostle of the church, Peter preached one of the most powerful sermons in the early church, and 3,000 people came to faith. Peter was a man redeemed through the personal love of Jesus.   

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