Jesus’ victory over the grave is, of course, the central event of the Easter story. But there are many other inspiring aspects of this narrative as well. For me, the resurrection morning spotlights the ability we each have to rededicate ourselves to serving God. And for us, this may mean rising above character flaws and accepting forgiveness. Simon Peter is the preeminent example of this.
Peter was one of Jesus’ first disciples, a humble fisherman. He had the great privilege of being invited by Jesus to follow and learn from him. But working alongside Jesus didn’t make Peter a flawless student. In the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy described him as “impetuous” (see Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 137). She is also reported to have said of him, “Peter was mesmerized easily, but was a glorious follower” (Joshua F. Bailey notes, March 5, 1889; A12065, The Mary Baker Eddy Library). And he was. Through profound missteps as well as tremendous triumphs, Peter learned that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Realize your potential to rise above whatever the obstacle to your mission is.
We can all relate to Peter. Although we strive to be steadfast students of Christ Jesus’ teachings, sometimes our shortfalls feel like an obstacle to our most well-intentioned work.
After the last supper with his disciples, Jesus told them that they would all be offended because of him; he would be killed, and they would deny and abandon him and be like scattered sheep. Peter defiantly answered, “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee” (Matthew 26:35).
What a difficult declaration to follow through with, even for someone who loved Jesus as much as Peter did! When Peter heard a rooster crowing the following dawn, after he had just denied Jesus three times, he sadly remembered it was exactly as Jesus had foretold. “And he went out, and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75). That moment Peter was profoundly sorrowful, and full of regret. But, like the certainty of the resurrection morning, Peter’s forgiveness was already assured.
When women came with spices to Jesus’ tomb, they were greeted by an angel. Jesus had risen from the dead! A directive followed: “Go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you’ ” (Mark 16:7, New International Version).
Although Peter’s regret and fear excluded him from being present at the resurrection, the angel made sure Peter was included. This was Peter’s first step to a greater understanding of Jesus’ mission—and his own—heralding God’s love. It rededicated Peter to demonstrating the healing work he was taught, and led to his enduring contribution to Christianity.
This Easter season, realize your potential to rise above whatever the obstacle to your mission is. Through Christ, the true idea of God, you can lay aside shortfalls and missteps and see that you, along with everyone else, are included in the redemption of resurrection morning.
Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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