As I thought about what I should focus my article on for the month of April, there were many wonderful options that came to mind. I considered sharing about our new community groups (which has been a huge blessing to me after only one meeting by the way), I also considered sharing about a book I am going through with some friends entitled, Killing Sin Habits (Conquering Sin with Radical Faith) by Stuart Scott. The first chapter of the book is, “Repeating Pattern of Sin: Just Like Clockwork, but it Can Stop!” and in it Dr. Scott lays out a pattern of temptation and sin that is unfortunately all too familiar. But I’m not going to talk about either of those because in the month of April we are remembering and celebrating the most significant event in all of human history;
the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Perhaps no writer in the New Testament captures so fully, in one short sentence, the glory of Easter than the Apostle Peter did in 1 Peter 1:3. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead . . .”
Peter had to have felt the sting of Jesus’ death more than any other. He had boasted that he would never forsake Christ, yet we know that he failed miserably. The last time Peter is mentioned in Matthew’s gospel we see him going out into the dark of night, weeping bitterly (Matthew 26:75).
I’m guessing that I’m not alone in having times when I feel the way Peter undoubtedly did that night. There are days when I wake up with such good intentions and everything can be going great, but it can all change so quickly. I act poorly in a situation or I treat people badly and usually at the end of a day like that I feel just like I imagine Peter did. I walk away thinking to myself “What have I done?” By treating people that way it’s just like I treated Jesus that way.
However, it is in moments like these that we need to turn to the resurrection for both comfort and encouragement. We celebrate Easter and the great triumph of Christ over the grave – but one aspect that is often forgotten is that because the tomb is empty Christ is present with us today and every day to meet the pressures of life. I believe that is what Peter was thinking of when he wrote those words. If you recall, after Christ’s resurrection He appeared to many and in John 21 we have recorded for us a conversation between the Lord and Peter.
“So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My lambs.’ He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Shepherd My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’” John 21:15-17
I am quite confident that it was this conversation with the risen Lord that gave Peter the boldness to preach the Gospel message on Pentecost. Peter’s life changed when he left everything and began to follow Christ, but it wasn’t until Christ laid down His life and rose from the grave that Peter truly understood what this life was all about.
Because that tomb was empty some 2000 years ago we have a true “living hope” of eternal life.
Erik Keeling | Young Adults and Administrative Pastor