The Sound of Your Name
The young man dressed in white spoke in peace, knowing why they had come.
“You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is not here.”
Did you catch it?
Mark, the only one of the gospel writers who so intentionally places this in the text,
“tell his disciples and Peter..”
Weird. It begs the question, why was this name mentioned? Why is Peter named amongst all the other disciples? Or even Jesus’s own mother? Any name could have been spoken here.
He was the one, in Luke, who said to Jesus, “I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.”
And I remember Peter’s humanness. Sometimes I think we forget that as we read the Word. These Biblical figures are just that – human, who bleed and cry, rejoice and sing. In the same days that Peter pledged to follow Jesus unto death, who was it that went missing at the foot of the cross? Who denied sweet, bleeding Jesus three times before the rooster crowed that next morning? Peter.
As someone who has been grappling with the thought of what it could mean to follow Jesus to death, I can still hardly imagine Peter’s fear. His doubts. The thought of rotting in a jail cell in the name of Jesus, or being taken to the cross in death like his Leader.
Peter in the Gospel of Mark says, “even though they (the other disciples) will fall away, I will not.”
Peter, how like me you are. I promise God, again and again that I will not fall from Him – that I will not choose apart from Him. And then a day after, sometimes just even moments later, I find myself doing what I swore I wouldn’t. Sometimes even letting my mind flutter to the things I declared I would shield myself from.
I am Peter.
On a good day, in the presence of the Lord, I promise Him that I will stand relentlessly next to Him and say I will proclaim His name with confidence! And then my flesh speaks bitterly, “you do not know that Man”, much like the phrase Peter said to the servant girls and bystanders.
“And Peter went out and wept bitterly.”
Imagine the lineup of harsh lies that began to sink in. Peter wept, perhaps soaking in the sorrow that he had run out of chances with his Lord.
“There is no grace left for you, Peter.”
“You gave up on Him, so He gave up on you, you sinful disciple.”
“You went back on your word, you of little faith.”
And much like how he had sunken down into the Galilee when he attempted that walk towards Jesus on the water, maybe he allowed himself to stay under the waves this time.
There certainly wouldn’t be a redeeming hand waiting for him now.
But then hope came running, Mary, with the news that their Lord had raised, speaking Peter’s name.
In John it says Mary Magdalene came running to Peter and the other disciple whom “Jesus loved” (possibly John) saying that the tomb was empty. So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they headed toward the tomb, both of them running together.
Could it be so? Had what their Master proclaimed so many times come true? I can feel the excitement and the dirt moving below their worn out sandals, neighbors eyeing them in confusion as they ran past.
Suddenly, the Word says the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
Maybe… Peter runs like a tank, like my big ‘ol 6’5 brother. Maybe the other disciple was faster and appreciates a good race.
Or maybe it was that Peter slowed his feet in skepticism.
Perhaps he couldn’t imagine that the grace of Jesus went that far and high and wide, truly pardoning him for his lack of faithfulness. The other disciple flies ahead, and Peter slows his feet, disbelief decelerating his steps even just for that moment. I can feel the weight. I can feel his guilt and see those bitter tears that he wept after denying Jesus not once, but three times.
Will he return to where he had come from or continue on toward the tomb of Jesus?
Will he accept the grace of his Redeemer?
Then the Scripture explains that the other disciple stops in front of the tomb, looking in, but does not move in. And then Peter approaches, entering the tomb ahead of him – faith leading before the gnawing lies. His slowed feet would not triumph in this moment.
On that world altering day, adoration for Jesus caused him to enter that empty tomb, as he gazed at those abandoned linen cloths.
And the text says, “he marveled”.
Dear sweet beloved of the Most High,
I hope you know today that you are forgiven. Beyond what is comprehendible, above what is rational to our small minds – the All in All has come, proclaiming your name personally and affectionately. I hope you rest in His pleasantness today, accepting His graces and marveling at the sound of your name on His lips.