“As Simon Peter stood warming himself he was asked, “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.” One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?”
Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
I wonder if I had been Peter, if I wouldn’t have denied Jesus, too. You see, Peter just couldn’t understand what was happening. He must have reasoned that if Jesus was the Son of God, why didn’t he stop the abuse and mockery that Peter was witnessing in the high priest’s courtyard?
If Jesus was really God, why would he put up with that?
Could it be that Jesus was only a sincere but misguided charismatic leader and not God after all? If that’s the case, I’d better save my own skin while I can.
“No,” Peter insisted to the courtyard bystanders. “I don’t know him.”
Later in the day, Peter watched Jesus, now brutally beaten, nailed to a cross and hung in the Sun to gasp for air – and, finally, die.
How could God die?
If Jesus was the Son of God, how could he die like that?
And now, on the following Sunday, the women told of angels’ words that he had risen. With his own eyes, Peter had seen Jesus die. If he were only a man – and certainly he had died like a man – how could he return from the dead? Upon running to the tomb and finding the body missing, Peter reasoned that someone must have taken the body.
It is this same dilemma that men and women have struggled with for centuries. If Jesus is God, how could he die? And if he is a man, how could he rise?
Ask the Roman soldiers who were guarding the tomb. They don’t struggle with such questions. One moment they are sitting warming themselves by a fire flickering in the chilly predawn hours. The next, Matthew tells us, “There was a violent earthquake for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.”
Jesus was not inside the tomb. He was alive!
How can die, and how can man live? Why, was Jesus conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin? Because Jesus is God’s Son, sent to Earth to lead us to our heavenly Father, to die for our sins, and to rise from the dead to show us that he is the source of everlasting life.
His shameful death that Good Friday was a direct result of my sins. And his resurrection on Easter morning was for me, as well. He died and lived for me – and for you.
Jesus is risen! He is your Savior!