Summary: Easter was intensely personal to Peter because of his massive failure in denying the Lord. His post-resurrection encounter with the risen Lord on the Sea of Galilee shows the incredible love of Jesus.
What Easter Meant to Peter
April 8, 2012
TEXT: Mark 16:1-8 – “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.”
Illus. – One Sunday a few weeks before Easter, a Sunday School teacher decided to ask her class what Easter meant.
The first little guy said, “Easter is when all the family comes to the house and we eat a big turkey and watch football.” The teacher suggested that perhaps he was thinking of Thanksgiving, not Easter.
Next a pretty little girl said, “Easter is the day when you come down the stairs in the morning and you see all the beautiful presents under the tree.” At this point, the teacher was really feeling discouraged. After explaining that the girl was probably thinking about Christmas, she called on a boy with his hand tentatively raised in the air.
She perked up as the boy began, “Easter is when Jesus was crucified and buried.” She felt she’d gotten through to at least one child until he said, “And then He comes out of the grave, and if He sees His shadow, we have six more weeks of winter.”
Well, Easter means a lot of things to a lot of people, to some, involving bunnies and eggs, and to followers of Christ, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is at the heart of Easter.
But to Peter, Easter meant something intensely personal. Look with me at verse 7 of our text: The angel said to these women who had come to anoint the body of Jesus with spices, “But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter…” Now why did the angel single out Peter from the disciples?
In finding the answer to that question, there are important truths for our lives, but first we need some background.
I. NOTICE FIRST OF ALL JESUS’ PREDICTION OF SIMON PETER’S DENIAL – Look with me at Matthew 26:31-35 – “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.”
Note Peter’s response in verse 33 – “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.” – Peter boastfully says, “Hey everybody else may blow it; but I’m one guy you can count on, Lord; I’ll NEVER let you down.” Also, notice Peter’s prideful boast in verse 35: “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.” This sets the stage for one of the most incredible dramas in the scriptures.
II. NOW NOTE WITH ME PETER’S DENIAL – For this we go to Luke 22:
• Verse 54 – “Then took they him [Jesus], and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.”
That last phrase in this verse is significant – “And Peter followed afar off.” This was the first mistake Peter made that led to his fall. Peter was not there by the side of Jesus in His hour of need. Rather, he “followed afar off.”
Many people are like Peter: they follow afar off. They’re not totally committed to the Lord. They’re saved all right—but they follow the Lord from afar.