This article looks at Mark 16:7 and the special mention the Lord Jesus makes of Peter.

Source: The Outlook, 1988. 2 pages.

Mark 16:7 - And Peter

...and Peter.

Mark 16:7

Peter was one of the twelve apostles. Although we know little or nothing about their families, we know that Peter was married. Jesus at one time healed his mother-in-law when she was sick with a high fever (Mark 1:30).

Peter was impetuous. He often did and said things before he thought them through. Peter got out of the boat in the storm on the sea of Galilee, began to walk on the water to Jesus and then began to sink. Peter answered Jesus' question about His identity when they were up north near Caesarea Philippi. To Peter, Jesus was "the Christ, the Son of the living God." Later, when Jesus predicted what the disciples would do when He would be taken captive, Peter insisted that even if all of the rest of them would forsake Jesus, he would never do this. When in the gar­den the Jews had arrested Jesus, Peter tried with one blow of his sword to split Malcus' head. He was ready to die for his Lord. (A secular tradition tells us that much later, when Peter had been taken captive, he asked to be crucified upside down because he did not feel that he was worthy to be crucified like his Lord had been.)

Here the scene is Sunday morning when Jesus had risen from the grave. The women had been given the good news. He was alive! They hurried from the grave. And they were given the message, "Go tell the disciples and Peter."

This expression, "Tell the disciples and Peter" is recorded by Mark alone. From subsequent history we learn that Peter and Mark worked together.

And Mark put it in his Gospel nar­rative. "Tell the disciples and Peter." He didn't say, "Peter and the dis­ciples." Why?

This might suggest that at this time Peter was no longer one of the dis­ciples. Anyone who so positively and vehemently had denied Jesus was no longer worthy to be one of His dis­ciples. Peter himself had cut the bond. And Peter may have felt that this was only right. Hadn't he said that he had never even known the man, Jesus? Later Peter was re­stored to the office of apostleship on the shore of the sea of Galilee. (From this we also can learn what proper procedure should be in the church of Christ. Where sin had been committed publicly there must also be public confession and res­toration.) But at this time that hadn't yet taken place, and Peter was distin­guished from the rest of the dis­ciples — with the implication that he was no longer not one of them.

Yet the Lord did not pass him by. This must have hurt Peter. It was one thing that he knew the terrible sin he had committed, but something else that the Lord made that painful distinction.

In these words there is also an ex­pression of the Lord's deep love that would never let him go. Try to im­agine Peter's life during the past days. The Lord's loving glance had brought him to repentance. John tells us this. Peter had gone out and wept bitterly, in his deep sorrow for his sin against Jesus. Jesus had been crucified and died. As far as Peter was concerned, the Lord was gone, not to return. Who could comfort him? Perhaps he said to himself, "If only I could have an opportunity to tell him about my sorrow."

Here came the message, "Tell the disciples and Peter." It told Peter first of all that Jesus was alive! It told Peter also that Jesus still remem­bered him and even instructed the women to tell him about it. Jesus still loved him. How comforting the Gospel is to sinners who confess their sins!

"Tell the disciples and PETER."

Notice that Jesus does not say "Simon," which was his natural name, the name given him by his parents. When previously Peter had said that he would never deny Jesus, the Lord in answer called him Simon. "Simon, Simon, Satan has desired to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you." Simon was his old name, the name of his old na­ture. In and with that nature he was warned of what he would do. But here he is Peter, even though as Simon he had committed such a sin. What is the Lord telling us here through Mark's inspiration?

To Jesus he is still Peter, the rock upon which the church will be built. Even though he had sinned so grievously, as a penitent sinner he is assured that the Lord still loves him. Jesus had prayed for him, and will re­store and establish him as "the rock" to strengthen his brothers (Luke 22:31, 32). This is the beautiful mes­sage of the church about our Lord throughout the ages. "Though we often have sinned against Him, still His love and grace abide." This does not mean that the Lord minimizes or ignores sin. We must always confess our sins. But our sins do not undo His love!

By nature we are still sinners. As believers we are Christians, but as the Heidelberg Catechism says, even the most holy have only a small beginning of the new obedience. This means that only a little part of us is true to the name Christian. But how great is His love and faithful­ness! Although Simon, the disciple, committed a terrible sin, to Jesus, he, the penitent, was still Peter.

What is the total message here? Jesus Christ died on the cross for sin­ners, for His people as sinners. But He arose from the grave. The resur­rection is proof that the payment for sin had been made, and that He con­quered death. He is Lord in heaven today. We as Christians are still in this sinful world, living also with our old, sinful nature. In the end we will all die (unless the Lord returns soon) and our bodies will be buried in the ground. But our sins have been paid for, and He is alive. Can it be that a living Savior will leave His people in the grave, the people for whom He has died. An utter impos­sibility!

That is our comfort while we still live on this earth as sinful Christians.

He came to Peter and really said, "Peter, I still love you." He says the same to us as sinful Christians, every day — and He always will.

Isn't that good news?

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