Tell especially Peter (English/Luganda)
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Tell especially Peter
I read from Mark 16:5
As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”
This is a story from the Bible that moves me and touches me deeply, because I recognize myself so strongly in Peter. His burning love for Jesus and an almost too great portion of zeal and an impulsive nature, but still that love for Jesus, the eagerness to serve Him and please Him. That was Peter, and I believe I am at least a little bit like him in that way. But despite his shortcomings Peter loved Jesus.
And these words from Jesus are so full of the tender, incomprehensible love of Jesus. It was exactly the words that Peter needed to hear there and then, and that’s always the way it is with Jesus. He knows our hearts and know what we need most of all. Sometimes correction, other times encouragement, and sometimes just tender love. But the words of Jesus always hits us right into the center of the heart and give us exactly what we need most of all, because God is good, Jesus is good. He wants to lead us on the right path. And Jesus is The Master of the soul. He knows exactly how His Words will pierce into the heart, how they will affect us.
It is written in Luke 22:59
About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” 60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Here we see what happens the very same night that Jesus is crucified. Peter is assed whether he belongs to Jesus, and he says that he doesn’t know Him. But just as Peter has denied Christ for the third time, the rooster crows, and then Jesus turns and looks straight at Peter. And Peter went outside and wept bitterly.
Exactly when Jesus needed Peter the most, he failed Him the most. How do you think Peter felt? Jesus was everything to him, the greatest love of his heart, and when his Master is being taken away, he denies that he ever had known Him. I think that the heart of Peter was broken into pieces. It hurts to fail Jesus. He realized that he was not better than the other disciples. He wept over himself, his own inability to be loyal to Jesus. His own inability to love Jesus.
But you are at the same time, at the very same moment, an object for the tender and caring love of Jesus. He knows exactly how you are doing, how you feel, what you think. When Jesus looked at Peter it was with a look full of love, and that loving look of Jesus made Peter understand what he had done. And his heart was broken into pieces. Peter was small, devastated, weak. He was made into nothing.
But when Jesus had risen an angel says to the disciples something like this: send My greetings especially to Peter. I wonder what it felt like for Peter to hear those words? I think his heart became alive again. I think that he thought: Jesus still loves me! I still have the chance to belong to Him! I think his heart was filled with hope, life and love for Jesus. Imagine that Jesus is still thinking about me! Imagine that He still cares for me. If that is not love, then I don’t know what love is.
Peter knew what he had done and I think that he believed that Jesus would reject him. But Jesus, in His love, wanted to again take Peter to Himself. He wanted to once more say: Peter, you are Mine! Peter, I love you! If you turn back to Me I am standing there with My Arms open for you! You are still the rock!
These words grabs a hold of my heart even today, but I had almost forgotten them until I was in Israel in November last year. We had communion in Gordon’s Golgotha in Jerusalem, where they think that Jesus might have been buried, and KG Larson, a great preacher from Sweden, spoke about these words: tell especially Peter! He spoke so touching about how it must have felt for Peter to hear these words from Jesus, just as he had denied Him.
And I was touched, because they caused me to think about how Jesus had said these exact words to me also, when I was in a similar situation as Peter.
I was given a great encounter with Jesus just before Easter 2006, but just a few hours later I too fell and failed Jesus, in a similar way to Peter. A few days later, on Sunday after Easter, just as for Peter, on the day of the resurrection, Jesus said to my mother to go and tell me: send special greetings to Konrad. Jesus knew exactly how I felt, and He was thinking about me. After my failure, after my defeat, I felt totally devastated, and then Jesus said these words that bring tears to my eyes even today: tell especially Konrad. What a love there is in these words.
He thought especially of me then, and especially about Peter after his denial. He knew how I felt it, like if everything was lost, and then He spoke words that gave me new hope. I still have got a chance. Jesus still wants me. Jesus still loves me, in spite of my defeat. It testifies about a love in Jesus that you will find nowhere else. A tender, compassionate love, that wants to comfort and give new hope and courage.
When we have failed and fallen the deepest, when we cry over our sin and our shortcomings, then Jesus is standing there and says: tell especially Peter! Tell especially Konrad!
It’s words spoken with such care and love, words with such empathy and compassion that make our hearts soft. Jesus is so tender, mild, so good. He does not think as humans do. He is not like us. Thank God for that. And this love from Jesus changes us, transforms us. We cannot understand it, but it hits us in the innermost parts of our hearts and makes us new. We think: does Jesus still love me? Is He still thinking about me in love? Does He still care about me?
That’s the way the love of Jesus is. It is greatest when we are made small, in deep prostration, devastation. It is strongest when we are weakest. It is more faithful than ever when we have failed and are crying bitterly because of it. That is what Jesus is like.
There is no one who loves you as Jesus. You have no better, closer, more faithful and loving friend than Jesus. There is no one else who, when you have failed and disappointed him, still will say: tell especially Peter. It is words that want to give you a new hope, life and stir up that love, zeal and longing for Jesus once more.
It is also words full of the love of Jesus so that they make our hearts melt down as wax. They shape us and make us as soft as butter in sunshine. It is the mild, tender love of Jesus that form and shape our hearts and lives into the image of Christ, and that often takes time, because the hearts of men are hard as stone. But Jesus is mild, good, tender and loving. When Jesus tenderly says: go and tell especially Peter, then it is Words so full of love that our hearts are being reshaped from the bottom.
Tell especially Peter. It is Words that testifies about Jesus incomprehensible love, a love that is irresistible. A love that we can start to get to know and have a feeling about, but never fully grasp here on earth.
It is Words not from any man of flesh and blood, hard and insensitive, but from Someone who knows and understands. Jesus knows what kind of creation man is. Weak, unsteady, quick to pride, big words and great promises.
And this is so important for you as pastors, as leaders of the congregations, to remember, to place on your heart. You have been given a great responsibility to lead and care for the flock, and you should do that with a great sense of duty. And that task has been given to you because you have a heart and a love for Jesus and for the sheep. But sometimes you fail, are beaten and defeated.
And then you must remind yourself that Jesus says: tell especially Joseph. Tell especially Richard. And Jesus then renews your calling and mission for you.
Because then, when we have fallen, then Jesus is standing there, His Arms open, and He says: go and tell especially Peter. Amen.