— and Peter never doubted him again.
Profound sadness coupled with terror wrapped Peter's stomach and it was in a painful knot. Jesus had told his disciples that he would be killed, even that he would be crucified. But Peter hadn't believed it. When you see daily miracles and hear a confident public figure teach, you refuse to believe anything could ever change. But Peter's world collapsed.
Just last nights ago he had eaten Passover with Jesus and hours later, Jesus was under arrest. A hasty trial in the high priest's palace condemned Jesus. Then in early-morning he goes between Pilate and then Herod, then back again to Pilate and Jesus’ fate is sealed. Then the pounding started, yes by 9:00 AM soldiers were pounding nails into his hands and feet, jerking him upright on a cross to let him hang in the sun. Finally, the sun gave up and hid leaving the crowd to watch the Master die in the dampness of the day. Peter had fled, if the truth be known none of the Twelve remained around. Only Mary Magdalene and a couple of wealthy followers took his body down, carried it to the grave.
Peter was filled with despair, right in the pit of his stomach. He walked around in a daze; disoriented, shattered, the center of his world had become a black hole.
His Messiah, the heir of David's throne, how could he have been executed? It isn’t logical, it was impossible — yet it had happened, so quickly!
Peter slept little Saturday night and when he did awaken on Sunday, he rolled over pulled his bedding over his eyes. Why bother getting up, knowing he wouldn't sleep any longer, he got up.
Just as he got up someone was banging on the door. Afraid it was soldiers he started to plan and escape. But he suddenly realized it was Mary Magdalene's voice. Mary was breathless, troubled, her face stained with tears. Grumbling, Peter said to Mary, "Why did you have to wake me so early?" Mary blurted out: "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb!"
Peter woke up John and the three of them ran through the narrow streets, out the city gate, and then on to the tomb. The stone had been moved aside, the grave was empty, the burial cloth was folded, but the body was gone. Folded? Yes, folded and no body, not what you'd expect from grave robbers.
John seemed convinced by the burial cloth that somehow Jesus had been resurrected or something, but Peter wasn't so sure about the conclusion. Especially taking into account all that happened! Peter walked towards the city pondering, thinking, wanting to believe, but afraid to hope.
Suddenly, Jesus appeared. Peter, the so-called "rock," the one who publicly betrayed him by saying "I don't know the man!" was very unworthy. And yet here, right in front of him Jesus is standing. Peter immediately fell to his knees and wept for joy.
Check out the Scriptures, Peter never said much to the others about this meeting, what had been said or what had transpired. But you could see it his eyes, in the nod his head and his smile; they all showed the transforming power he had experienced; he was filled with thankfulness and joy and peace.
Peter had been moved from pits of despair to the peace of the Master. Life had changed for the good. Since then many have found this same peace, this same smile of wonder at Jesus' amazing grace. Maybe you too. Jesus had risen — and Peter never doubted him again. How about you?
Let us continue to pray for peace and for the end of terrorism in our world!
In peace and courage,