Faith isn't always easy. Sometimes it's downright hard. It's dry, it's dusty and it does nothing to quench a thirst or breathe new life into a soul. It's how I've felt lately anyway.
I become intentional in my reading and I focus on Luke. Luke is a doctor, and writes as such. As I read I try and do so with the eyes of a doctor.
After witnessing the beating and crucifixion of Jesus, I am certain Luke could see the effects of trauma on the others; even himself. Each of them trying to make sense of what they saw.
He had his eye on Peter. Oh dear friend Peter. At dinner Peter told Jesus he would die for Him. Jesus told Peter he would deny Him 3 times before the rooster crows. And he does. Once the night turns violent and he witnesses the brutality inflicted on his great Teacher, he denies knowing Him. He denies Him to three separate people including a servant girl - a child really. What harm could a young girl bring to a grown man? Yet, he denies knowing Jesus first to her. Upon the third denial, a rooster crows and Jesus looks at Peter.
But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about." Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.
"The Lord turned and looked at Peter And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, "Before a rooster crows today you will deny Me three times."
And Peter went out and wept bitterly.
Wept bitterly. His body shook, his soul blackened with shame. His words had stung with betrayal the One he loved the most. The thoughts he must've struggled with - did he wonder if he was any better than Judas? Judas had betrayed Jesus for money, Peter's words betrayed Jesus to save only himself.
Who he thought he had become under the teachings of Jesus is certainly not who stood in Caiaphas's courtyard that night. How do you begin to show your deep regret and ask forgiveness of the one you hurt when He has been executed?
Peter felt hopeless.
Luke saw this. Luke, the doctor, watched Peter closely. He was deeply concerned for his friend. How do we know this?
The women had gone to the tomb to give Jesus the burial He deserved. His death was that of a criminal, but His burial would be one of honor, of this they would make certain. At the tomb they found His body gone. An angel tells them He isn't there. He is risen just as He told them He would be.
They remembered Jesus saying this. They enter where the 11 apostles are together and tell them what they saw. An angel? Risen? He was dead ladies, this can not be.
But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping in and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.
But Peter ran. Luke doesn't mention John outrunning Peter to the tomb as written in the other book, Luke only mentions Peter. I imagine Luke saw a spark of hope in Peter's eyes that day. Luke, the doctor, knows the good hope can bring to a body. Seeing the empty tomb, Peter knew those bitter, bitter tears could be wiped away by the only One who could forgive him. The sting of betrayal could disappear.
Jesus being alive brought hope to Peter. Jesus being alive brings hope to all of us. The hinge of my faith; our faith.
But Peter ran. I've thought a lot about those words lately. The spark of hope I find in those words brought some much needed water to this runner's desert.
May you find it too.