2011-05-05 - Private Audience
Luke 24:33-34 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon. (NASB)
The scene is Sunday evening somewhere in Jerusalem after Jesus' resurrection. Jesus has appeared to Mary Magdalene and at least four other women in the garden that morning. He also appears to Cleopas and one other on the road to Emmaus as they had left Jerusalem in despair that Jesus was dead. The recognized Jesus when He blessed the bread at the evening meal and broke it. He disappeared and they hurried back to Jerusalem that night. When they arrived they found the eleven disciples and others gathered in room excitedly exchanging stories from their encounters with the risen Christ. In verse 34 there is an interesting statement - "and has appeared to Simon."
Simon Peter had failed as many of us have failed. He had denied knowing his Master when he had been accused of being one of Jesus' followers. The Lord had warned Peter that he would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed (Luke 22:60). When it happened Peter ran into the night and wept bitterly.
When Jesus had asked His disciples who they thought Jesus was Peter had answered that Jesus was the Christ, the long promised Messiah - the Son of the Living God. Peter had been present at Jesus' transfiguration, he had performed miracles as Jesus sent the disciples out to proclaim the good news, along with many other amazing events over the three years he had spent with Jesus. Peter had promised that he would go to prison and die for Jesus at the Last Supper. When the moment came to stand for his Lord Peter feared for his mortal life and denied the One he knew to be the Christ.
Have we never denied Jesus by our words or our actions? Have we never hedged in a conversation and then felt the pang of disappointment for not being more straightforward? Perhaps it is not a blatant denial, but it is lukewarm at best. Many know at least a taste of Peter's sorrow. This meeting of Peter and Jesus after the resurrection is only briefly mentioned here and again in 1 Cor 15:5. Will we ever know what was said in that private meeting? There is no way to know. Peter had left the tomb that morning amazed, but also felt the pain of his denial. It would take one of Jesus' last appearances on the shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus had prepared breakfast. He would restore Peter and charge him to feed the fledgling church. Jesus had also promised Peter that he would be restored. This private meeting was very likely the first step in that process of restoring Peter's broken faith - his fear that Jesus would no longer claim him because of failure.
Do you ever feel that Jesus must put you on the shelf because you have stumbled badly? If Peter is any example then there is genuine hope. If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior He has promised never to leave or forsake you. You can have your own private audience in prayer. Ask Him to forgive you and know that He is able to do just that.
He is waiting for you.
Grace & Peace,