For my Easter devotional this year, you can either listen to the podcast or read the script. Join with me as examine how Jesus was quiet through these final days of his life.
Christ is risen
He is risen indeed
On Easter Sunday we celebrate hope of the resurrection. The celebration of our risen Lord. And I find it interesting that in the small number of appearances that Jesus makes to his followers he makes a point of meeting with two men in particular.
The first is Peter, who we looked at on Holy Thursday first defending Jesus with a sword and then denying him. He wasn’t the only one who deserted Jesus, by the way, all the disciples went into hiding. But we know from the scriptures the emotional cost of this action on Peter for we are told in Luke that “he went outside and wept bitterly”.
And yet Jesus in his grace, after his triumph and after his resurrection, appears to Peter and some of the other disciples while they are fishing.
It is a story of a miracle for they had been fishing all night and caught nothing, but when Jesus appears and tell them to throw the net on the other side, they bring a full net of fish to the shore. We pick up the story in John 21:
When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Like the last supper, this is the story of another meal with Jesus and another conversation with Peter. In this conversation Jesus doesn’t attack Peter, nor does he heap shame and guilt on him. This conversation with its three questions is the quiet gentle way that Jesus reinstates Peter, the three questions slowly restoring him after his three denials of Jesus.
Another disciple that Jesus appears to, is Thomas, the one who doubted Jesus resurrection. We also read this account in John:
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
It was known among the disciples that Thomas had doubted the resurrection, and yet when Jesus appears to Thomas he is not angry, and again does not shame Thomas. Instead, his first words are, “Peace be with you”. And then he addresses Thomas’ doubt directly, “touch me” he says, “verify for yourself that I am indeed alive”. He meets Thomas where he is at and restores him.
As we see from Jesus’ interactions with these two men, the forgiveness of God is not forced. It is not something he gives reluctantly when he would rather us wallow in our guilt and drown in our shame. No instead he meets us at our lowest point. The point of betrayal, the point of doubt. He meets us there, first speaks peace, then with quiet forgiveness he gently restores us.
Maybe today you are in a place where you feel far from God? Maybe you are full of doubt and questions? Maybe today you don’t feel the hope of the resurrection as you are under a burden of guilt and shame. May you know that Jesus meets you even here, quietly, with eyes of compassion and words of forgiveness.
Let me pray for you as we close this devotion today:
May I know your quiet forgiveness today,
Where I have questions,
Where I have doubts,
Where I feel far away from you,
Come meet me
Speak your peace over my life,
And take away my guilt and shame
Thank you for listening to this Easter Sunday, I will be back tomorrow on Easter Monday to look at how we move forward in a quiet life after this Easter has passed. So, until then peace be with you.