Have you ever been in a season in life when your prayer is “Lord, I am in a state of EGR, Extra Grace Required?" I think we’ve all been there at some point. We all have highs and lows in our faith. That’s why we so often refer to this as a journey - there’s never really an arrival.
Though, it does make me have a sigh of relief when I can look in scripture and see even the disciples themselves having one of these moments. At the beginning of Mark 16 we have Marry Magdalene and Sal-uh-may on their way to the tomb where Jesus was buried to anoint His body with various oils and spices. On their journey they’re conversing as to how they’re going to roll away the heavy stone. Upon arrival they see that the stone had been rolled away and as they entered into the tomb they came upon an angel who gives the ladies instruction starting in verse 7:
But go, tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee.
Obviously, shocked and amazed, these ladies flee the scene and follow the instructions given to them. But what I want to focus on here is what the angel instructed in verse 7, “But go, tell His disciples and Peter … “
Why in the world would the angel seemingly exclude Peter in the instructions? Why point him out specifically? Well, if you recall, the last time we saw Peter in this gospel account was when he was standing in the courtyard of the high priest during the trial of Jesus and a little maiden kept following him around, saying, “Hey, I know you! You were with Him, weren't you?" And as we know, Peter denies it, not once, not twice, but three times. And in this moment of realization, he runs into the darkness of the night, weeping bitterly.
This is the same Peter in Matthew 26:33 that indignantly declared when Jesus predicted his denial that:
33 Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with You, I will not deny You!”
I’m sure, like me, you can see Peter standing up and making a dramatic scene and declaring his promise with passion! Peter is the epitome of the latter part of Matthew 26:41 which says:
41 “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
But, inevitably we see it all come to fruition.
Now, going back to our question, why single out Peter? What we see here is an extension of the amazing, beautiful, incomprehensible grace that only comes from Jesus! In this moment, God keeps His word. Immediately after the angel announces the resurrection, he sends the women away with a personal message from the risen Christ to His fallen disciples. As further proof of the resurrection, Jesus intends to bring His disciples back together in a relationship that will be stronger than ever. He begins by letting them know that He looks forward to seeing them, even though they have forsaken Him. We see this in verse 14 as Jesus rebukes them for their unbelief. By no surprise, Mark’s Gospel is the only one that singles out Peter for a special invitation to the meeting place in Galilee. The book of John describes at length the story of Peter’s restoration around the campfire in Galilee. Sometimes, though, a single word carries as much meaning as a lengthy story.
If I were Peter, beating myself up with guilt and shame in some dingy hiding place, and then were to hear that the risen Lord had invited me by name to meet with Him in Galilee as He had promised, I would know that He still loved me. And listen, I would do anything to be by His side.
As J. C. Ryle, an English Anglican Bishop from the 1800's, is quoted in saying "Grace is stronger than circumstances." And I could not agree more.
Today, you may be in a circumstance that feels like you're far from grace, but as we see with Peter, you’re never too far. You’re never out of reach. Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.
Grace is always extended with Jesus! Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and walk in grace advancing and developing into the person He has created you to be.