Scripture | Luke 24:36-49
The story of Jesus’s bodily resurrection from the dead in the Easter story changed everything. Not only is it the most miraculous story of all time, but it correlates strongly with Peter the disciple’s story and with each of our own stories. In his Easter sermon, Barry taught us, “All Easter stories begin with tears and confusion and end with hope and purpose.”
We have learned about Peter’s own story over the course of this three week series. He was a fisherman by trade who crossed paths with Jesus and eventually became the leader of the disciples. He became known as “the rock” after Jesus professed that he would build his church on Peter. But, the night before Jesus’s death, Jesus gathered His disciples to celebrate Passover. At the meal, Jesus told them that one of them would betray Him. Each disciple exclaimed that it would not be them. This morphed into a heated discussion over which of them was the greatest. Jesus stopped their conversation and told Peter that Satan desired to break him like wheat. He ensured Peter that He was praying for him and said that when Peter returned, he was to strengthen the disciples, but that Peter would fail. Peter did not like hearing that he would fail, and told Jesus, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” (Luke 22:33) Jesus told him that before the rooster crowed, he would deny knowing the Lord three times. Peter did this just like the Lord had predicted. The Scripture says in Luke 22:61-61, “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.”
Peter’s Easter story began with tears and confusion. This man he had followed and learned from, who he had seen perform miracles and that he thought would overthrow the government had been crucified on a cross. On top of all that, he had denied Christ as it was happening. But, he had seen the empty grave and heard accounts of the risen Lord. We see Peter again at the end of the book of John. He is back to being a fisherman. He is out on his boat casting his nets. Peter fished all night but caught nothing, just like when he first met Jesus. As the sun began to rise, they heard a man’s voice call out from the shore telling them to cast their net on the other side of the boat, just as Jesus had the first time. Once again, they caught a huge amount of fish.
When they realized it was Jesus, Peter jumped into the water and swam to shore so that he would get to Jesus first. When Peter got to him, Jesus had a fire and breakfast prepared for them. After breakfast, the resurrected Christ asked Peter three times, once for every time he had denied Him, if he loved Him and each time Peter affirmed that he did. And after these questions, Jesus once again told Peter, “Follow me.” (John 21:19) After he had encountered the resurrected Christ, Peter started leading the disciples again. The resurrection of Jesus gave Peter hope of a restored relationship with Christ and led to a purpose!
The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope and purpose. When Jesus died on the cross and then rose again 3 days later, he fulfilled the prophecies written about in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms. He paid the ultimate sacrifice, the only sacrifice that could atone for our sins, and in that, we see that the resurrection points us to the hope of redemption! But, our full redemption could not have happened without the resurrection, Romans 6:5 says, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like it.” Because of this, we have the hope of being made new and through faith in Christ we are made alive!
In the death and resurrection, Jesus destroyed sin and any power it could have over us. This means that in Christ, we have true freedom. But, if we are not in Christ, we are stuck in the bondage of sin. In the resurrection, we find that we are not defined by our sin or defeated by our sin, but instead, we are defined by Christ, who defeated sin and offers freedom to those who trust in Him.
The story of Easter gives us hope and purpose after tears and confusion. The resurrection gives us purpose in declaring the Gospel to all people! In Luke 24:45-49, it says that Jesus enabled his disciples to understand the Scripture. He then prophesied what would happen fifty days after Passover, when he sent the Holy Spirit that empowered their ability to live their lives for the glory of God and proclaim the Gospel. The Holy Spirit still empowers Jesus’ followers today, and we are called to live our lives for God’s glory and share the story of Jesus to a world that is broken, just like Peter and his disciples were called to do. We see, in the Easter story that commission comes after confusion, that empowerment comes after failure, and that resurrection comes after death.