We are coming upon Holy Week, the most revered time in our Christian calendar. Of all of the word that I associate with this season, “Grace” is the one I think of most. This is from my book, In a Mirror Dimly. I hope this is as meaningful to you as it is to me.
“But go, tell His disciples and Peter…”
Mark 16:7 (NASB)
The American baseball player Yogi Berra is famous for his malapropisms – phrases that don’t seem to make any sense. But one of his quotes may be among the most profound things I’ve ever heard from a mortal. He is said to have remarked, “If I hadn’t believed it, I’d have never seen it!” Just like grace; it must be believed to be experienced.
Sally always said that I was like the pre-Pentecost Peter: I often feel the need to speak before I’ve thought, to act before I’ve considered the action. And often, like Peter, I’m incredibly hard-headed and clueless. I’m reminded of Peter’s actions at the Transfiguration, when we’re told in Matthew 17, Mark 9 and Luke 9 that when Moses and Elijah had appeared there with Jesus, Peter blurted out ““Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not realizing what he was saying.”
And like Peter, I’ve too often disappointed myself even more than anyone else when I’ve done something I’ve sworn I would never do. In Gethsemane Peter along with James and John could not stay awake and pray as Jesus had asked. Instead, three times they fell asleep. All of us know of Jesus’ warning to Peter that before the rooster would crow twice, Peter would deny Jesus three times, just as he did.
Aren’t we so much like that? We read and we tout ourselves as humble servants. But then we follow our own paths, our own fears, our own ways. But the incredible truth of grace comes home in this passage, maybe my favorite in the scriptures – my favorite, possibly because I need to hear it over and over to really believe it.
Remember that incredible passage in Mark 16:
16 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. 5 Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you. 8 They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Mark 16:1-8 NASB
This is, without a doubt the most profound expression of grace that I know. Peter was feeling ashamed, knowing that he’d denied his Lord and Master, knowing that he had shamed himself beyond redemption, knowing that he was not worthy as the Master’s friend. But the angel’s words were clear, and I believe deeply that these words were meant to cry out to every one of us the true depth of His grace – “go tell His disciples AND PETER.” There is no doubt those two words changed Peter – saved Peter. So in Acts 15:11 when Peter says, “11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.” We know how deeply he feels this.
And the message of Mark 16:7 is clear to me. You see, I insert my name in that passage – “But go, tell the disciples AND MICHAEL….” His grace, His matchless love and promise of redemption extends not only to a fallen disciple like Peter, but also to me, and to you. Say it aloud with me, inserting your name….”But go, tell the disciples and _____________…”
Amazing grace…..for Peter, for you and for me. Only by the blood of Christ Jesus.