He Knows My Mental Condition - Peter
1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
We have been talking the past few weeks about “He Knows My Name.”
Today I will preach “He Knows My Mental Condition - Peter.”
Just previous to our text, the last time we see Peter he was dejected and all hope seem to have been dashed.
Jesus was crucified on Friday morning and has been dead for three days. And Peter as far as we can tell from the scriptures has been hiding in the upper room this whole time.
Sunday morning arrived like any other Sunday, the day after Sabbath except that the women Jesus was the closest to, come to the tomb to complete the burial procedure for their master.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke record very little that applies to Peter but they do give us some hints.
We should not be surprised that not much is said of Peter, after all he did deny knowing the Lord.
Matthew deals with the apostles as a group.
The angel tells Mary to go and tell the disciples and she does.
The next thing recorded is Jesus giving the disciples the great commission
Mark gives us a bit more.
6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted (That means amazed): Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
The singling out of Peter here is important.
It means God is not quite done with Peter yet.
Yes, he denied the Lord, but clearly, he has been repenting and praying ever since the Lord looked him in the eye that evening.
Go tell his disciples AND PETER.
Again the Great Commission is given and the disciples are told to spread the gospel throughout the world.
The women at the tomb were Mary Magdalene, Salome, Mary the mother of James, Joanna, and other women not named.
They are given the good news that Jesus is risen and quickly go tell the disciples although the disciples thought this was nonsense.
EXCEPT FOR PETER!
Peter is one of the disciples, so why mention him specifically?
The angel didn’t mention John, James, Thomas, or any of the others. Why Peter?
I’m sure Peter thought that his name had been removed from Jesus’ will.
Peter must have thought that he had no future among the disciples, that he had been disqualified to continue as a disciple because of his failure.
The message that Jesus sent through the angel was as clear as it could be – “I have risen from the dead and I am looking forward to seeing all of my disciples in Galilee, yes even you, Peter!
You can see that if Mark’s Gospel is really the Gospel according to Peter, why those two words are included.
Those words meant more to Peter than to anyone else there that day.
But those words should also mean so much to all of us.
Peter fell, just like all of us fall, but he wasn’t disqualified or dumped because of his failure – isn’t that encouraging?
Let’s see what Peter and the other disciples did when they received the good news from the women.
Mark tells us that upon hearing this news Luke 24:12 (NASB)
12 Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.
Peter obviously saw something and marveled at what had happened.
But what happened?
Was the body stolen?
Had Jesus been revived?
Could Mary be right that he had risen from the dead?
The word marveling means to be amazed, astonished, filled with wonder, or astonishment.
Luke tells about Jesus appearing to the two men on the road to Emmaus, and they return to Jerusalem and find the 11 and begin telling them they had met the Lord along the way.
Those are the accounts from the synoptic gospels and the information as to Peter is a bit sparse.
John on the other hand has far more to say and really shows something about Peter that I find both touching and amazing.
John’s gospel tells us that Mary ran specifically to Peter and John to tell them the Lord had risen.
I am sure the other apostles were there but John makes the point she went to Peter and John.
While Mark told us Peter ran to the tomb,
John gives more information.
John, here called the disciple Jesus loved, and Peter ran to the tomb.
John 20:4-5 (NASB)
4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead, faster than Peter, and came to the tomb first;
5 and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in.
John did not enter the tomb.
John 20:6-7 (NASB)
6 And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there,
7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.
Ah, that’s the Peter we all know and love.
He just rushes in to see exactly what is going on.
Again we have the linen wrappings mentioned.
You would think these people had never witnessed a burial before.
Why so much attention on these wrapping and does it really matter that the face cloth was on the other side of the room, all by itself?
John 20:8-10 (NASB)
8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.
9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes.
We are then told they both went home to ponder what they had seen.
Jesus makes a few other appearances and reassures the disciples this was all a part of God's plan and they were going to be witnesses to that plan to the entire world – hence the great commission.
But what about Peter, is there no punishment coming for his denial?
Only John records perhaps one of the most moving and tender encounters for us and one that set the course for Peter until the day he died.
Peter had denied the Lord three times just as Jesus predicted but Jesus said something else that evening. Luke 22:31-32 (NASB)
31 "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;
32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Notice Jesus did not say “if” you turn again but rather “when”.
Jesus knew Peter would repent but so many times God forgives us much easier than we forgive ourselves.
John’s gospel in chapter 21 records for us the minds of the apostles even after they had seen the risen Lord.
John 21:2-3 (NASB)
2 Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together.
3 Simon Peter said to them, I am going fishing. They said to him, We will also come with you. They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.
The Lord has been killed.
Yes, he has risen again but I just can’t see how any kind of a kingdom will be set up now and so I’m going back to fishing.
For Peter, he had not just lost Messiah.
He had lost a good friend and one that he had just betrayed.
One can see where this might cause one to retreat to what one knows best.
But Jesus had something else in mind.
While they are returning from an unprofitable night fishing the Lord appears on the shore (although they do not recognize him).
The Lord tells them to cast their net on the right side of the boat and they will find a catch.
Is this guy crazy?
We’ve been out all night and caught nothing and now he wants us to cast our net in the shallow waters near the shore where fish never are? But they do it…
And lo and behold a great catch of fish.
So large a catch they could not handle it.
The apostle John immediately says It’s the Lord.
And when Peter hears this he puts on his outer garment and jumps in the water and starts paddling towards the man on shore.
There Jesus has set a fire and has cooked some fish and bread and he invites them to eat breakfast with Him.
I’m wondering if Peter's intent was to make some excuse to Jesus for denying Him or perhaps apologizing but breakfast interrupted anything he had planned.
We then have this key moment recorded for us…
John 21:15-17 (NASB)
15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these? He said to Him, Yes, Lord; You know that I love You. He said to him, Tend My lambs.
16 He said to him again a second time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me? He said to Him, Yes, Lord; You know that I love You. He said to him, Shepherd My sheep.
17 He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me? Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You. Jesus said to him, Tend My sheep.
This is like one of my favorite passages in scripture.
On the surface it seems that either Jesus was hard of hearing or very forgetful.
Why ask the same question 3 times?
Notice this - After each of the questions, there is a command.
1. Tend My lambs.
2. Shepherd My sheep
3. Tend My sheep.
The words in Greek are important.
The word tend is bosko and literally means to feed and the word shepherd poimaino means to lead and care for.
Peter denied the Lord three times and the Lord asked him three times if he loved Him to establish it in Peter’s heart.
At the same time, he reinstated Peter as a shepherd and teacher three times.
One for each denial signifying total forgiveness of the wrong done.
A good shepherd will feed (teach his flock, give them nourishing scripture) twice as much as he rules or leads them in an authoritative position.
What we see is the reconciliation of a broken and discouraged man and Peter from this point forward is one of the most powerful figures in the church.
Remember, Jesus had given Peter the keys to the kingdom, and said, Upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Jesus gave the apostles a great commission, to go into all the world and make disciples.
No internet, no e-mail, no television or radio, no newspapers or mass media.
So how does a small group take on such a massive task?
Well these men were still human and still did not fully understand God's plan and so in the first chapter of Acts we read: Acts 1:6-8 (NASB)
6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?
7 He said to them, It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.
Yes preaching the gospel in all the world is a massive task but they were going to be given a much more massive power to do it.
The Holy Spirit and after the Lord ascends into heaven is just what happened on Pentecost.
Now for the keys:
Remember Jesus’ words as to how the gospel will be preached.
1. In Jerusalem – this was the occasion of Peter's first sermon in Acts 2 and 3000 souls came to the Lord
2. In all Judea – about a week later Peter preached again and another 5000 souls come to the Lord and Peter went all through Judea with John and preached the gospel in Acts 3
3. In Samaria – although Philip was the one who preached the gospel to them, Peter was sent down to Samaria to verify that the Lord had accepted them into the body in Acts 8
4. And even to the remotest parts of the earth – while we credit the Apostle Paul with the most work among the gentiles or non-Jewish world, it was Peter who first preached the gospel to the Gentiles, to a Roman soldier named Cornelius in Acts 10-11.
Keys open doors and Peter was involved with opening the gospel door to all three people groups.
That was the true meaning of the keys and how they were to be used.
Peter is a huge figure in the early church.
The once cowardice apostle who denied knowing the Lord to a slave girl and hid in the upper room was not an unstoppable force for the kingdom
Boldly he stood before the same council that condemned and killed his Lord and proclaimed that he could not stop preaching Jesus just because they said to.
He had his command from God and that was that.
When they had beaten him to warn him of what could happen if he continued he rejoiced that he was counted worthy of being flogged for the Lord
He went on to write two epistles and even went to his death for the cause of the gospel.
Was Peter now a perfect man?
No! he was still a man but he had the power of the Holy Spirit within him and this made all the difference in the world.
That same Holy Spirit is promised to all who are in Christ.
So many believers beat themselves up when they stumble.
Some even get so discouraged they fall away completely.
Let Peter be your patron if you will.
Yes we are saved and yes we are Christian but no we are far from perfect.
At least in this world.