We’ve just heard how, when the women arrive at the empty tomb, early on the first day of the week, hoping to anoint the dead body of Jesus, they’re shocked to find the tomb open and a young man sitting inside, dressed in white. This angel speaks to them: ’Do not be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised. He is not here: look there is the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples – and Peter – that he is going ahead of you to Galilee: there you will see him, just as he told you’.
Go and tell his disciples, and Peter. It’s those two words ‘and Peter’ that catch my attention. Why are they added? You won’t find them on the lips of the angel in the version of this story told by Matthew, Luke or John. Why do they matter to Mark? Well, I think there are two reasons, both of which might encourage us this morning as we celebrate afresh our Lord’s resurrection from the dead: the first reason has to do with what the Risen Lord wants for Peter; the second, with what he wants from Peter.
Let me say something about what the Lord might want for Peter to start with. This is the first reference to Peter in the Gospel of Mark since the moment about 48 hours before, when the cock had crowed a second time and he had broken down and wept. Our last glimpse of Peter is of his sobbing remorse at the realisation that he had indeed denied Jesus, as his Master had prophesied that he would. This is a more catastrophic fall from grace than that of any Australian cricketer: as the curtain falls on his active participation in the Gospel story, Peter has failed.
So those two words ‘and Peter’ on the lips of the angel are full of hope. They suggest that the Risen Jesus, far from having given up on Peter, far from having written him off, is intent on // re-establishing // a relationship with him.
Read it all.