What’s in a Name?

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

Psalm 45 (Morning)
Psalm 47, 48 (Evening)
1 Kings 16:23-34
Phil. 1:12-30
Mark 16:1-8 (9-20)

What’s in a Name?

All four Gospels tell slightly different versions of the women disciples coming to Jesus’ tomb, finding the stone already rolled away, and encountering an angel who tells them Jesus is already risen and will meet them in Galilee. Along with today’s reading of Mark 16, you can check Matthew 28, Luke 24, and John 20 for the whole story.

But Mark relates one interesting detail not mentioned in any of the other accounts. The angel tells the women, “Go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him…” Only Mark says that the angel specifies Peter by name.

Peter, at that time, would have been agonizing bitterly over having failed Jesus by denying Him, in public, three times, before the rooster crowed, just as Christ had predicted. And Jesus had taught that “whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.”

What an astonishing act of caring love and forgiveness it was for Jesus to send Peter this message, through the angel, through the women disciples, that Jesus wished to see him. What a stunning solace for Peter. When they did meet, Jesus would lead Peter to declare, three times, in public, his love for Jesus, thus recapitulating his relationship with Christ and with the other disciples.

There seem to be countless examples of Jesus’ modeling the right thing to do, in mind-boggling ways that seem to be just impossibly difficult and at the same time somehow just too simple. Actively reaching out in forgiveness is always an option for us, too, but not one we always excel at. At least we have a good example we can follow.

Written by Ellis Ralph

“Ellis” has been a member of St. Paul’s since he and his wife Judi Neal moved to Fayetteville in ’09. He usually attends the 11:00 service.

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