What does Easter Sunday mean to you? To some it means the Easter bunny and chocolate eggs. To others Easter is an obligation to go to church when they visit their families. For others it is a day of food and celebration. For Peter, the disciple of Jesus, Easter meant a second chance. Before that first Easter morning, in the Upper Room while celebrating a last supper with the other disciples and Jesus, Peter had insisted that he would never deny Christ. In the events that followed, from what we call Good Friday to Easter, Peter not only denied the Lord, but he denied Him three times. In the courtyard of the high priest, as Peter watched from a short distance, Jesus looked at Peter. It was then Peter realized what he had done and then he went out and wept bitterly.
What do you suppose Peter saw in Jesus eyes? Was it scorn and rejection? Was it an “I-told-you-so” look? I imagine that it was a look of compassionate love, that said, “I still love you, Peter.” I think that is why Peter went out and wept bitterly. He realized he had failed the Lord. Jesus was crucified and laid in a tomb.
On Easter morning the tomb was empty. Jesus had risen. The scripture describes it like this,
But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” Mark 16:6-7
“Go, tell His disciples—and Peter. . . .” It was not, “Go tell the disciples, including Peter, James, and John. . . .” It was just Peter, because Peter needed a special word of encouragement. In those words, I believe Peter knew he had been given a second chance.
Like Peter, we too have fallen short. We have let God down, failed and made mistakes. God gave Peter a second chance, and God will give you one, too—because Easter means we have a second chance.