John 20:3-6 “So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also *came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he *saw the linen wrappings lying there”, (NASB)
I’ve told you before that I identify with Peter most often of the direct disciples of Christ. Today’s passage will begin to give insight as to why.
The scene today follows the crucifixion. The followers of Christ were gathered and mourning the loss of their beloved teacher and friend. Although several had confessed that He was the Messiah, they always managed to forget stuff like that when it was most needed. So they gathered and mourned and didn’t really know what to do. Several of the women went to the grave early Sunday morning and when they found the stone rolled away they ran back to tell the disciples.
John and Peter took off running to the tomb. It isn’t clear from Scripture how far away they were gathered. Scripture does tell us that the two ran there however. Now I picture Peter as a strong and loud fisherman; a guy that was let’s just say, rough around the edges. Big guys aren't usually the quickest fellows even if they are in shape. John, was perhaps the more athletic of the two as Scripture records that John out ran Peter. “The other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first”.
John also had a little more self control. Although John got there first he stopped and took in the situation. He records that although he arrived ahead of Peter that he stopped at the entrance. He was, “stooping and looking in” and in doing so, “he *saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in”. Having seen and observed all this before Peter’s arrival he was clearly a good ways ahead.
Now here’s where I identify with Peter. When Peter finally catches up to John at the tomb he doesn’t just saunter up beside John with hands on his knees to catch his breath. No, he just blasts right past John into the tomb to take a better look. I'm sure, once inside, hands on his hips huffing an puffing he took it all in. That’s Peter.
Why share this with you. Several reasons come to mind. First, it is important to me and I hope to you to see that even among two of Christ’s inner circle there was great diversity. John was more measured in his approach and Peter was way out there sometimes. Remember, Jesus had to rebuke him a time or two. This is important to know because when it comes to serving Jesus he’s not looking for cookie cutter servants. He wants us to serve Him as we are while growing up into Christ likeness.
Second, it helps me knowing that Christ used a guy like Peter in such a powerful way. Peter just days earlier had denied Christ not once but three times just as Jesus had said he would. When he did and realized what had happened Peter broke down and wept bitterly at the reality of his weakness. But God had big plans for Peter, weak and impetuous as he was. Peter is widely recognized as the leader of the early Church. It gives me great hope that I can be useful to the Lord when I see a guy like Peter used in such a powerful way. Again, Christ wants you to serve Him just as you are now while you are still in growth mode.
Why? Because our spiritual growth never ends during this life time. If we wait for perfect maturity to begin serving no one will be serving at all. Take a deep breath, look at some of the wacky things Peter did and then look at some of the great things the Lord did through him. If he can use Peter, he can use you and he can use me. AMEN!