Recently in the news, a Christian celebrity has been raked over the coals for standing by and supporting a longtime co-star after that celebrity allegedly committed a serious crime. This actress that has openly declared her faith has been scolded, called names, and had fans tell her that they will no longer watch her movies and TV shows. Some have even called her unchristian.
She has not condoned what her friend has done. She simply stated that she will stick by her friend and pray for her. I don’t understand how people see this as unchristian. Just the opposite her response is loving, kind and loyal.
If we go back to the saying that became popular a few years back, “What would Jesus do,” I think we would find that he would have had much the same response. As a matter of fact, he did. In the days leading up to the crucifixion, Peter was among Jesus’ closest friend. After vowing that he would never turn his back on Jesus, Peter denied even knowing him, not once but three times. This was not just a general offense; it was a personal offense to Jesus from a person who had walked beside him day by day.
But one of the most redemptive passages in the Bible can be found in Mark 16. After Jesus’ death, the women went to the tomb and found the stone rolled away. The angel spoke to them and said, “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”(Mark 16:7-8) (NIV)
Wow! Those two little words, “and Peter” showed mercy and love toward a fallen friend. Scholars speculate on why Jesus sent his message through the angel in this way. Many believe that it was because Peter was down on himself for denying Jesus and might have assumed that he was no longer included. Others believe that Jesus knew that the fact he was alive would be especially good news for Peter. Either way, Jesus wanted Peter to know that his resurrection was for him.
He wants us to know that it was for us, too. The next time you mess up and feel that you have distanced yourself from the Lord, please know that you are not far from his grace and mercy or from the power of the resurrection. Here the message that he sends you. He has risen! He is not here! Go, tell his disciples. and ___________. Put your name in the blank. You are included!
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3) (NIV)