5 When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, 6 but the angel said, "Don't be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn't here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. 7 Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died." 8 The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened. Then they briefly reported all this to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen.
The angel made sure the ladies knew to tell Peter that Jesus has risen from the dead. We know from several accounts that Jesus appeared to Peter very soon after His resurrection.
Paul gave us his account in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
Luke gave this explanation Luke 24:33-35
What we know for sure is that Jesus appeared to Peter first. It is not known precisely when this happened, as the time and place are not mentioned. We know it was very soon after Jesus’ resurrection.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve.
(Note: “the Twelve” is believed to be a reference to the apostolic team Jesus discipled, there were 11 after Judas died, the men brought in Matthias to complete the twelve (Acts 1:22-23), then later Paul was appointed by God as an apostle (Romans 1:1). There was Twelve appointed by Jesus.)
Remember in Matthew 16:13-20 Jesus describes Peter’s faith as a “rock.” There were many times Peter demonstrated real and personal faith in Jesus. Sometimes, it appeared to be stronger than others, non-the-less, it is faith, no matter the size, that brings us close to Jesus. I can only imagine what Peter must have felt when Jesus appeared to Him personally. This act of Grace and Mercy that Jesus showed Peter, gives all of us insight into the very nature of Jesus.
I believe Peter’s encounter with Jesus is not unique to Peter. Many of us have the very same struggles, we love Jesus deeply and want to follow Him with all that we are, and yet we struggle with temptation and fall into sin; even the very sin Peter struggled with, denying Jesus.
Off and on over the years I have found it very difficult to share with people my beliefs, my convictions, and my faith. In essence I have struggled with my denial of Jesus. I cannot count the times I have denied Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I find it very difficult at times to stand bold and be declarative about my Lord and King. I have this passive attitude of offense permeating my thoughts. Anyway, moving along, I find Peter’s encounter with Jesus to be one of the most life-giving encounters in the Scriptures.
Jesus appearing to Peter is a mark of unique love and special favor (grace), and particularly, after Peter's denial. This shows how ready Jesus is to pardon and impart comfort to those who are penitent. Jesus is ready to restore at all times, His relationship with those whom He calls His sheep. Jesus seeking out Peter, demonstrates God’s heart for relational restoration. A powerful demonstration of forgiveness!
I would like for all of us to imagine for a moment the anguish in Peter’s heart. Peter announces before all the disciples that Jesus is the Son of the Living God, and then Jesus says to Peter upon this rock (faith) I will build my church. Jesus, Peter’s Lord, has been killed after denying Him three times. The heartache had to have been overwhelmingly crushing.
Now, try to imagine what was going on in Peter’s heart when Jesus appears to him, before the other 10 disciples. Jesus declares to Peter his profound Grace and Mercy, this had to have been overwhelmingly emotional. I am not surprised that what transpired between them was not written down. The very character and nature of Jesus is the message given through His appearing to Peter.
Peter is easily able to declare
2 Peter 1:1-2
This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior. 2 May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
Pete became more aware of how the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven were going to be used by him. We have, through this personal encounter with Jesus, what the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven are used for; life-giving restoration and redemption for all who choose the Son of the Living God as Savior, Lord, King, and High Priest. For a description of the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven read Matthew 5-7.