By Dale Pyne, CEO of Peacemaker Ministries
“He has risen, He has risen! Praise God, Jesus has risen from the dead!”
That might have been the cry from Peter and others when they found the empty tomb of Jesus. But it was not. Instead they were bewildered, speculating among themselves what had happened to Jesus’ body.
Why? we ask. Why would Peter doubt? After all, Jesus himself told Peter and the other disciples that the crucifixion and resurrection would take place. Mark writes, “He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this…” (Mark 8:31-32 NIV).
In fact, after Jesus “plainly” told Peter of his impending crucifixion, Peter pulled Jesus aside and began to rebuke him. We would think that later Peter would remember that teaching moment well, since Jesus responded to his rebuke with, “Get behind Me, Satan! You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of man” (Mark 8:33 NIV).
Wouldn’t you remember a rebuke like that? I have thought to myself on occasion, “If I had been there, seeing the miracles of God, or walking and talking with Jesus, I wouldn’t have doubted.”
But here are the facts. Today we have a distinct advantage over Peter. We have the written, living Word of God. We see a more complete story in a larger context than Peter did. We have the testimony and fellowship of the body of Christ. And ultimately, we have the Spirit of God living within us. Yet we, like Peter, sometimes question God. We, like Peter, sometimes deny the Lord. And we, like Peter, forget the very things God promised us.
Why do we call these “blind spots” anyway? Because we sometimes cannot see what is right in front of us.
As a mediator, I often have a front row seat to the reality of broken relationships. As peacemakers, we may be especially sensitive to the struggles of life in family, church and community. From an objective viewpoint, it seems so easy to identify heart issues in others, yet when we ourselves are in the middle of conflict, this is not the case. We end up just like Peter, often not “setting our mind on the things of God, but the things of man.” We act on our own and for our own benefit.
Here is some good news – in spite of Peter being a slow learner, rebuking Jesus, and even denying Christ, God empowered and used him in mighty ways to establish the church of Christ. What does that mean for us?
He has risen! He has risen! In spite of our blindness, our brokenness, and our inability to love God and others on our own, God draws us to himself and grants “incomparably great power for us who believe… which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19-20a NIV). It is only by his grace that can we love him or love others. Yet he changes us, allows us to see where we are blind, and now through his resurrection power, he uses us to make a difference in the lives of others.
I thank God for His willingness to use us all as his vessels of peace in a broken world. And I thank you, our Peacemaker community, for your significant contributions of time, talent and treasure, without which we could not continue forward with this vital ministry. I am especially mindful of the intentional effort many of you are making to persevere as we navigate through our time of transition. Thanks to each and every one of you. May God richly bless you as together we celebrate the risen Savior this week and all year long.