Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1 Peter 1:3
The verse written above was scripted by Peter, one of two apostles with whom I can identify (just for the record, Thomas is the second). He was a simple fisherman. He was without means, a name, wealth or political clout. He was one of Jesus’ closest disciples. He walked on water to Jesus. He identified Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of God.”
Peter had lived and worked beside his friend Jesus for three years, witnessing miracle upon miracle. But he still did not understand that Jesus was God’s sacrificial lamb. He did not grasp that Christ had not come to live on earth, but rather, to die. He did not understand that when Christ said he would rebuild the temple in three days that he was literally speaking of his resurrected body. And so, when Jesus was arrested, tried and executed, he was understandably scared and confused. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. When questioned, Peter denied he even knew his friend.
But something transformed Peter and gave him a “lively hope.” So much so, that he too was crucified for preaching Christ. That something was the Easter Story. Peter was the first disciple to enter the tomb and discover that, as the women had reported, it was empty. He encountered the resurrected Christ and discovered that He was alive.
And that is the message of Easter. At the age of fourteen, I accepted Christ as my Savior, which is to say that I acknowledge that I am born of Adam and have inherited his disobedience. I acknowledge that this inheritance has separated me from the one who created me. No matter how good I am, no matter how hard I try to do good things, no matter what kind of citizen I am, there is absolutely nothing that I can do to change what I have inherited. I realized what the nature of holiness means, and that God turns his eyes away from me. I learned that as much as I wanted God to be a loving Grandfather, he was still a Holy God. And my inheritance would eternally separate me from Him. I had always known about Jesus, but I did not realize that Jesus was the Kinsman Redeemer who would pay for the thing that I had inherited. That I could trust this redemption, because the Tomb was empty on Easter Morning, and Peter encountered the resurrected Lord.