Who Does God Include?

Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.” (Mark 16:7 NLT)

I have heard this text preached or taught for years. I too have broached this subject from time to time. However, upon reading it again, I noticed something different. Often we have phrased this text as though God was remembering Peter and showing him love by having the angel include Peter in the announcement that Jesus had been resurrected. 

Put yourself in the disciples shoes for just a moment. They all knew that Jesus had foretold Peter’s denial. Word get’s around quickly, even to those who may not have been present when Peter began to curse and swear that he did not know nor follow Jesus.

For the other disciples, their mindset could have been, “Well, at least we did not deny him.” Sure they fled in fear. Who doest from time to time? I would suspect that there was some tension whenever Peter’s name was mentioned. What if the gossip was thick amongst the other disciples? What if they all decided that Peter had gone too far and walked away? 

In reality, the disciples had probably written Peter off as a lost cause. They had probably said amongst themselves, “Can you believe that he publicly denied Jesus. He said he would rather die than deny him.” 

If you and I are honest, I don't think we are much different from these disciples. Who in your family have you written off as a lost cause? Who have you written off because of their denial or their struggle with Jesus? Who seems to be the worst of the worst in your mind? 

Remember, the angel gave instruction to include Peter. We can look at the passage above and think to ourselves that God was teaching Peter about His love by having him accepted as one of Jesus' disciples. This is probably true as well. But God was also teaching the disciples something. He was teaching them that He accepts Peter, even in his denial. He loves Peter and so should they. 

No matter what Peter had done to Christ just a couple of days ago, he was still considered one of His disciples. Peter had excluded himself, and so did the others. But God included Him in front of the others!

Be careful who you exclude, that’s probably the very person God includes.

 

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Posted on March 18, 2014 and filed under Grace, Church, Musings, Pastor, Theology.