Easter day 2022


Peter is perhaps one of the most complex characters in the Bible. Sometimes impetuous, sometimes so full of faith, sometimes so full of doubt, sometimes loyal, sometimes denying his Lord. He wears his humanity on his sleeve, supposedly a simple fisherman, but Jesus chose him to lead his church. In Acts, we heard his testimony, those powerful words of witness that so affected the crowds that there and then the Holy Spirit swept through them, and lives changed.

Yet days earlier, he’d been unsure. The women told him one thing, his doubts, his humanity struggled to believe it. Perhaps it was in his very humanity that Jesus saw the qualities that would make the first leader of the church, a man who, in his own failings would understand the failings of others yet inspire them to faith like his.

We get an inkling of all this as he first hears the news of the empty tomb from the women. In a time when women were subservient within the patristic society of the day, believing that such an important truth could be first known by women, not men, must have been a struggle for Peter. Sadly, an attitude that even today, for some parts of the church, remains a prejudice that certainly Christ never showed yet still strives to keep women from positions of leadership. But, I really did wonder what Peter might have been thinking, what led him to the boldness of his action in Acts; …….

It should have been me.

 I mean, I was the one he'd chosen to lead them, to be his right- hand man, but somehow Mary and the women were streets ahead of me. I was so buried in my grief, I couldn't think straight, certainly couldn't sleep, so I was up anyway, should've gone to the tomb as soon as the Sabbath was over.


But somehow, I couldn't. Couldn't stand the thought of seeing him there,­ I thought he'd let us down- he was supposed to save us, and there he was, laid in a tomb, cold and lifeless, all our hopes washed away like they washed the blood afterwards from the foot of the cross.


How wrong can you be. How wrong could I be, I mean. Yet again, I just didn't hear what he'd been saying, ears shut to his truth, too busy trying to prove my worth, as if that mattered, my words getting in the way of his. And then, when it really mattered, I couldn't even do that, once the pressure was on and he wasn't there-couldn’t even admit to being his friend, let alone his so-called right-hand man.


But when Mary told me about the tomb there was just a flicker-maybe he wasn't dead, perhaps -no, I'd seen the body, felt the cold skin, seen the wounds, the torn flesh, the deathly mask.

But.....what had they seen?

I just ran as fast as I could, but even then John was ahead of me, but he stopped dead at the entrance, staring at the huge stone rolled aside. .

I just ran straight past and there they were- the folded grave clothes, In the half-light of dawn.


I'm not sure if I was unbelieving, slow or confused- I just stood there bewildered until John came in. He took one glance and then- it was as if we were both struck by a divine flash of inspiration- suddenly we both knew. All that Jesus had said about temples being destroyed and rebuilt, about how he would overcome all things, how death and sin would be no more, about his kingdom, about love and forgiveness, and it all suddenly came together.

I don't know how-later when we saw him, when we actually saw Jesus in the flesh, it became clearer. But suddenly, in that instant I realised this was no man of God- this man with power over death was somehow God himself


And it didn't matter anymore that it wasn't me who went there first. This was not just for me or for John or for Mary, it was for the whole world, every single created being that would ever live and die. God had broken the power of death and sin for ever, now everyone could be as close to Jesus as I was, now everyone would know his love, now everyone would know his forgiveness.

But only if I told them about it. So, I'm starting here. With you. You can believe it, or not, but you can't change what God has done for you. Forever


Don't go to the tomb, there's nobody there. Just go out into the light and know that the risen Jesus is Lord. And then tell the world. Because he has done this for everyone, everywhere. And he’s done it for you.