Jesus appears to Peter by the tomb
a) Reflection on God’s Word
What feelings and thoughts filled Peter’s heart when on Friday, before the rooster crowed, he publicly denied Jesus three times – cursing and swearing that he did not know Him, that he had nothing to do with Him?! Fear and, moreover, remorse for his betrayal of his Lord tormented his soul. The other apostles likewise are in deep sorrow and fear.
And now on Sunday morning Mary Magdalene comes running, hurriedly knocks at the door and cries: “The tomb is empty!” Shortly afterwards the other women, too, come running and announce the same.
Peter and John resolve that they will go themselves and find out what the truth is. They run to the tomb. Peter goes in... “Then the other disciple went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.” (Jn 20:2-10) But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping... Soon after, she met Jesus Himself. “Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples: ‘I have seen the Lord.’” (Jn 20:18) Not long after, the other women came who also told the apostles that they had seen the Lord, that they held Him by the feet and worshipped Him (see Mt 28:9-10).
Peter runs to the tomb again. Here suddenly, he meets the risen Lord! What is this meeting like? The words by which he denied Jesus three times keep running round in his mind! The look into Jesus’ face penetrates his whole being. The feeling of guilt, contrition and love fill Peter’s heart. Words fail him. He only manages to make a gesture of painful confession: “Lord, I denied You!” But Jesus’ look of love fills Peter’s heart with deep peace again. When he comes back to the apostles, touched by the meeting he just says shortly: “The Lord is risen indeed. He has appeared to me.”
b) Recitation of God’s Word (5 min): I live out Peter’s encounter with Jesus.
We all repeat: “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon.” (Lk 24:33-34)
c) Prayer according to God’s Word (5 min): I realize my concrete sins or betrayals. We all say together: “Ye-ho-shu-aa-aa-aa”, and one of us adds: “I betrayed You, I denied You.”
d) Song (5 min): I repent of concrete betrayals or denials of Jesus. I real-ize that He is here, knows me and loves me. We sing: “Yehoshua”.
Jesus appears to Peter by the Lake of Gennesaret
a) Reflection on God’s Word
Obeying Jesus’ command, the disciples return to Galilee. Peter along with the other apostles go fishing. It is possibly the first night after Saturday. They toil all night and catch nothing. When the morning comes, Jesus stands on the shore. At His word they cast the net and catch a great number of fish.
When they have eaten breakfast, Jesus looks with love at Peter. Peter thinks of his sin again. He remembers Jesus’ painful look in the high priest’s courtyard, when he denied Him three times that night.
And now he hears Jesus’ question: “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter is happy that he can confess again his love to his Saviour before the others, and he says to Jesus: “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” Jesus asks Peter three times and Peter answers Him three times with a sincere confession. Jesus sees Peter’s sincerity and confirms his office of the first among brethren and shepherd of Jesus’ flock. He also speaks of Peter’s martyr’s death which he will suffer for the sake of Jesus. Divine love – agape – is tied up with Jesus’ cross.
b) Recitation of God’s Word (5 min): We all repeat: “Jesus asked: ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’” (Jn 21:15-19)
c) Prayer according to God’s Word (5 min): Realize that Jesus hears you. To say “I love You” means “I am ready to die for You!” An example is a soldier or martyrs. A soldier takes the oath of allegiance and is ready even to lay down his life on the battlefield, and so is a martyr for Christ.
We all say together: “Ye-ho-shu-aa-aa-aa”, and one of us adds: “You know everything; You know that I love You.”
d) Song (5 min): I personally experience that Jesus is here now, calls me by name (John, son of Andrew) and asks me: “Do you love Me?”
We sing: “All I give You, O my Jesus”, and bow low.
(I make a bow)
a) Reflection on God’s Word
After His resurrection, Jesus he appeared to more than five hundred brethren...” (see 1Cor 15:5-6). On the 40th day He ascended into heaven from the mount called Olivet, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said: ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’” (Acts 1:10-11)
The Word of God testifies: “He raised us up with Him (Jesus), and made us sit with Him in the heavenly places.” (Eph 2:6) “I go to prepare a place for you in heaven.” (cf. Jn 14:2) We have a place reserved in heaven; heaven is our home. If somebody made us a gift of a beautiful house surrounded by picturesque nature, we would wish to see this house.
I realize that I have a place prepared in heaven. I do not want to lose it.
b) Recitation of God’s Word (5 min): We all repeat: “On the fortieth day Jesus was taken up into heaven.’” (Acts 1:11)
c) Prayer according to God’s Word (5 min): One of us says Jesus’ words: “I prepared a place for you in heaven”, and we all say together: “Thank You, Jesus”.
d) Song (5 min): I realize that I have a place prepared in heaven. I enter this place already now in my spirit. Song: “Glory to the Lord”