Marveling at Jesus

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise." And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. — Lk 24:1-12

It seems like we skipped over a lot, and we did-- the Crucifixion (which I encourage you to read here if you are unfamiliar). We aren't entirely sure where Peter was during the Crucifixion. Luke 23 tells us, "When all the people who had gathered to witness [the Crucifixion] saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things." So we can assume that Peter was there, at a distance, but we don't know for certain. What we do know is that Peter and the other ten disciples (sans Judas) were together when Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary come rushing to tell them that Jesus has risen from the dead, and they think it's an "idle tale". 

An idle tale. It sounds like of like they're saying, "oh these women, they're just being emotional, they can't be telling the truth". As a woman who sometimes struggles to manage my own emotions, I've passionately told someone something, only to have them give me a look of, "sure, whatever, you're just emotional/hormonal/I will placate you until these emotions subside". Nobody is jumping up to find out if what they're saying is true, because they think it's an idle tale-- except Peter.

Sweet Peter. I have come to feel such compassion, affinity, and empathy for Peter over these last several weeks of studying his life. He's impulsive (me too), has trouble controlling his tongue at times (guilty), wants to trust Jesus but has his faith shaken by the wind (*hand raised*), and constantly can't live up to who he wants to be (DUH). Peter's impulsivity and love for Jesus causes him to "Rise and Run" (one day if I ever sponsor a 5k, I'm going to name it this, and use "Luke 24:12" as the subheading!). Peter has got to be even more desperate and emotional than he was after the rooster crowed, because the Messiah and Teacher and Lord whom he has followed for the last three years went from being praised to punished to death in the matter of a week. And death was the final blow to anyone. 

Except Jesus. Jesus has been different from the very beginning, Peter, hadn't you seen that? Jesus spoke to you first, Peter. Before, you were Simon Bar-Jonah. The moment you met Him, he renamed you Simon Peter, the rock. You were anything but a rock-- you didn't even know much about rocks. The sea and fish were what you know. But Jesus knew you better than you knew yourself. He healed your mother-in-law, in your own home. He let you in on the miracles, taking along you and James and John and no one else at times. It was you, Peter, who Jesus called to "come" out onto the water with Him. It was you upon whom He would build His church. Peter, John may have been the "disciple whom Jesus loved", but He loved you too, so deeply, that when you denied him three times in the garden, He still looked on you with more compassion and love than anyone had ever looked on you in your life. And He told you that all of this had to happen, and yet you told him, "never!". You couldn't imagine He would die-- and then He did.

But Jesus was different, and death couldn't hold Him. Don't you wonder, as Peter "rose and ran" towards the tomb, what was flashing through his mind? Were all these moments we just recounted flooding back, making him hope beyond all hope that it was true, that “what is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27)? Jesus had brought back Lazarus from the dead. Could God bring back Jesus himself as well? 

"Stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened." I don't know if marveling has ever been simultaneously a more accurate and inadequate word to describe a scene. It was true! He couldn't understand and yet, he knew-- Jesus had overcome the greatest defeat anyone could bring against Him. This was the Man Peter had left everything behind on the shores of Galilee to follow-- fully man and fully God, able to heal the sick and the blind and turn pharisees into followers and fishermen into disciples, able to conquer death! This was his Jesus, his Messiah and Lord. 

How often do we take time to truly marvel at who Jesus is and what He has done for us? For what He has done in us? Jesus took an impulsive, scared fisherman straight out of the boat, and cultivated a faithfulness in him that slowly and steadily was transforming him into someone totally different. The Rise and Run Peter is just the beginning of an entirely new Peter, a man who begins to resemble more of the Rock version of himself than the bumbling fisherman we have known. In His resurrection, Jesus brings out an entirely new side of Peter-- one that truly marvels at who Jesus is, and what He has done and can do. Jesus makes the impossible not only possible, but more real and true than we can ever imagine.

Dear God, Thank you for how you cause us to marvel at You and the work You've done for us through Jesus. You are more real and true than we can ever imagine. May we marvel at you all the days of our lives. In Jesus' name, Amen. 

Dig Deeper: Do you love Jesus so much that you just marvel at Him? If not, do you wish you did?