In the aftermath of the Easter story, it's always Peter that I'm drawn to. In the middle of his elation at seeing Jesus alive again must be some trepidation - after all, his last act for Jesus was to deny he even knew him.
But Jesus gives Peter the chance to put it right and start again - in John 21, Jesus appears to some of his disciples for an encounter that recalls the day they first began to follow him. After fishing all night and catching nothing, they see a figure on the beach who calls out to them, telling them to put their nets on the right side of the boat. They obey and, sure enough, catch so many fish they can't pull the net back into the boat. It's at that moment that John turns to Peter and says, "It's him - it's Jesus!" Peter is so excited he puts his coat on THEN jumps into the lake and swims to the shore!
After cooking and serving his friends with a breakfast barbecue on the beach, Jesus takes Peter to one side and asks him, "Peter, do you love me?", not just once but three times. And Peter replies - not once, but three times - "Yes Lord, you know I love you!"
Three times he denied Jesus; and three times Jesus gives him the chance to declare his loyalty.
What a moment that must have been for Peter - to know that all was well, that his denial was forgiven, that Jesus still had a place for him and work for him to do.
That's why I love Easter - because it gives hope and a place to all the no hopers, jokers and rogues, like Peter. And me. Happy Easter!
Come, all you no hopers, you jokers and rogues
We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes
It might be a ladder to the stars, who knows
Come, all you no hopers, you jokers and rogues.
Leave all your furrows in the fields where they lie
Your factories and offices; kiss them all goodbye
Have a little faith in the dream maker in the sky
There's glory in believing him and it's all in the beholder's eye.
Turn off your engines and slow down your wheels
Suddenly your master plan loses its appeal
Everybody knows that this reality's not real
So raise a glass to all things past and celebrate how good it feels.
Awash on the sea of our own vanity
We should rejoice in our individuality
Though it's gale force, let's steer a course for sanity