Walk Toward, Not Away
How do you feel, Peter, when you hear those words?
Shame. Singled out because you know what you have done, the horror of it, and pain of it.
Anxiety. Why are you separated from the rest of the disciples? Does that mean that you have been cut from the roster?
Fear. What if the Lord is going to tear a strip off you in front of the men you have lived and worked with for the last three years, the men who looked on you as their lieutenant.
Relief. You hope this means that there is a reprieve at the end of this. You pray that there is forgiveness for your betrayal.
A myriad of thoughts go through our minds when we know that we have failed the faithfulness test. To Peter was added the shame of having made a public promise to go to the cross with His Lord if had to. Instead he not only walked away physically but he walked away verbally as well. As public as his promise was, the betrayal was just as public.
We know how the story ended. With these instructions by the angel at the tomb to the women to tell the disciples AND Peter that the Lord had risen and would meet them in Galilee, Jesus was opening the door to forgiveness. It had always been open—something Judas never understood after his betrayal. But unlike his fellow disciple, Peter didn't walk away and as a result he found forgiveness and restoration.
And eventually Peter found his cross. But this time he embraced it. Tradition says that Peter was crucified upside down because of his faithful preaching of the Gospel.
What a wonderful assurance is found in these few words from Mark. There is forgiveness if we are willing to take it.
1 John 1:9 reminds us: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Take a walk, not away from the Lord, but toward Him, and discover the truth of the promise.