Today's verses are Mark 16:7,8: "But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid." The angel, who is in the empty tomb, began to give the three women, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome, instructions regarding what they should do next. They were to tell the disciples especially Peter, to go to Galilee, where Jesus' public ministry had begun. There they would meet the risen Jesus. In fact, Jesus had already told the disciples that this would happen (Mark 14:28)!
Jesus sent his disciples to Galilee to meet him for one simple reason: he was completely avoiding any thought in their minds of a political Messiah who would establish his kingdom in Jerusalem. He needed them completely to understand that his kingdom was not of this world. It was a spiritual, eternal kingdom he was establishing, rooted in grace and forgiveness.
The women left the empty tomb with "trembling and astonishment" having seized them. They were most certainly overcome with awe with the thought that they had been granted the privilege to witness something that would change human history. Though they were silent for a moment, it was only temporary. Matthew 28:8 tells us they did exactly what the angel told them to do.
These women became the first witnesses of the resurrection! It's just like God to entrust the first witness of the resurrection to women who often weren't even allowed to give witness in a Jewish court. Supposed second class citizens became equal members of God's kingdom through the cross and resurrection!
What strikes me the most in these verses today are the two simple words from the angel, "and Peter." Jesus wanted all the disciples to know that he was alive. He especially wanted Peter to know this good news. Why Peter? Because he was very close to Jesus, one of the three in his inner circle (along with James and John). He was the spokesperson of the group, having assumed the strongest position of leadership.
But Jesus mostly wanted this message to be heard by Peter because he was the one who had denied Jesus three times. Jesus knew Peter's grief and sadness over this betrayal and desertion. He wanted Peter to know that forgiveness would soon be his. He wanted Peter to know that his grace was stronger than Peter's sin. He wanted Peter to know that new life and purpose would soon be his because of the resurrection.
Do you feel you have failed Jesus? Have you sinned, run away and felt Jesus could never forgive you for what you've done? If so, today, put your name in the blank. Know Jesus' instruction to angels to come to you and say "and ____________." He wants you to know that nothing you've ever done can separate you from his love. He yearns for you meet him "in Galilee," wherever you may be, so that he can extend his grace, mercy and kindness to you.
His love is greater than your sin. His love conquers everything, even death.
Would you now go meet him and experience his forgiving love?