A few days ago I was reading the book of Mark and I was so struck by two words that they have continued to echo in my mind even days later.
I often encourage women to read their bibles as often as they can. Especially in seasons of change, waiting, and discouragement. I will be the first to admit that I cling much more tightly to the Word on the hard days. God certainly knows this is true about me and I am guessing it's probably true about you too. This particular passage reminded me why.
The last few weeks have been more challenging than I like to admit. Uncertainty has come seemingly from out of nowhere. There are lists of reasons and people I could place blame upon but none of that bears much fruit and it certainly does not glorify God. These unsettled times have me wondering if God is bringing discipline.
I prayed before I read the scriptures that day. I was very honest with God about what I am feeling. Fear, anxiousness, and imposter syndrome to name a few. And then I came across these two words: "even Peter." They were tacked on to the end of a sentence and I could have rushed right over them. But my aching heart had landed me in the Word with the hope of finding healing, peace, and direction. So I lingered over the words more than I would on a typical day. And "even Peter," was the tiniest of phrases that caused my eyes to fill with tears.
You see, in this particular chapter of Mark- Mary Magdalene and the other Mary have gone to the tomb to anoint the lifeless body of Jesus Christ. They prepared spices on the evening of his death but had to wait a full day to bring them to the tomb because of the Sabbath. So, on the third day, they arrived at the tomb. They were shocked to see the tomb open and inside they discovered an angel, sitting inside the tomb. The angel said, "Do not be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, he isn't here! He has risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. Now go and tell his disciples, even Peter." Mark 16:6-7
Why is this so striking, that the angel would single out Peter? On the night Jesus was arrested he spoke these words to Peter, "And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.'" Peter did, in fact, deny knowing Jesus three times that night. And the moment the rooster crowed, the bible says "the words of Jesus flashed through his mind." Of course, they did. Peter, the one who said he would follow Jesus even unto death had denied even knowing him. The Bible says that once he realized what he had done he wept bitterly.
Because I know the weight of what it feels like to sin against God, and then recognize that sin, I weep with Peter.
Sometimes, recently even, I have wondered if Jesus is angry with me. Has he given up on me? Does he even hear my voice any more?
And this is why these words strike me so strongly. After the resurrection, the angel takes a moment to be sure to include Peter in the group of those who are to receive the good news!!!
Jesus loved Peter so much, just as he loves you and me! And because the angel, surely at Jesus' command, includes Peter in the celebration of the resurrection I am hope-filled.
Because if Jesus remembers Peter, he remembers me too.
Even Peter. Even Jenn. Even you.