“When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” Luke 24.9-12
The resurrection of Jesus had just occurred. It’s about to shake the world. So far, only a handful of jewish women know. No one else is aware that Jesus had been raised from the dead.
These women, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and unnamed ”others” went to the apostles. There were only eleven of them because Judas had already betrayed Jesus. When the women told these men, they did not believe them.
Now this is hard for me to comprehend. How could those who walked with Jesus for three years not believe? They heard everything that he said. Every teaching, every inflection, every prediction about his suffering, death and resurrection was said in their presence. And yet, when trusted friends came to tell them about the empty tomb — they did not believe. I grade this response with an “F” minus.
Except for one. The one who had been their leader, but had denied knowing Christ. One of the first to be initially chosen and the one who was impulsive in also every way. He jumped into the water to try walking on it, he offered to build shelters for Jesus, Moses and Elijah when they met together, he cut off the ear of the high priests servant at Jesus’ arrest. Impulsive Peter. Emotional Peter. Irrational Peter. Yet here in this moment he becomes Faithful Peter. The group of disciples did not believe that Jesus had been raised from the dead but Peter…. He “got up and ran to the tomb.” What did he find there? Not Jesus. The text says he ”bent over, saw strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.”
Peter is the perfect example of someone who has unbelief, but they still seek. Unbelief, but they still question. Unbelief, but they still run to the tomb to really see if its’s empty. Peter, with all his faults, was still chosen by God to be his top general. Why? Because sometimes doubt turns into devotion. Failure can turn into faith. Poor decisions can turn into pathways of grace.
Sometimes I’ve been like the doubting, denying Peter, and other times I’ve been like the impulsive faith seeking disciple who Jesus named, ”The Rock.” But in ever circumstance, it hasn’t been my power which has pulled me up — it’s been the Lords. The resurrected Christ, as the song by Elevation Worship says, is resurrecting me (https://youtu.be/Rf8Zzn4nOzc).
Are you like the disciples today who chose not to believe or like Peter who even in his unbelief went to look for Jesus? Why not cry out to God today and ask him to restore your faith, restore your hope, restore your belief in him?
“O Lord God, thank you for saving me. Thank you that even in my unbelief, I am found faithful by you. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and love. Help me know that you are good and that you are God. For even in my struggles, you save me. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen