This is part of a series studying Peter’s life and ministry. Click here for the entire series.
The settings are at the cross where Jesus was crucified and the tomb where He was buried…
There is no direct evidence that Peter was present at the crucifixion. However, Luke records, “When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight [the crucifixion] saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him… stood at a distance, watching these things” (Luke 23:48-49). John writes, “When Jesus saw his mother [from the cross] there, and the disciple whom he loved [John] standing nearby…” (John 19:26). Since John and Peter were together at Caiaphas’ house, it’s not unreasonable to assume Peter, too, was here with John.
Later in Acts, Peter told a crowd of onlookers in the temple, “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this” (Acts 3:15). We don’t know for sure whether he was a witness of the crucifixion but he was of the resurrection.
After the resurrection
Surprisingly, none of the eleven men Jesus selected to be His closest followers was the first to find out Jesus was resurrected. That honor went to Mary Magdalene out of whom Jesus had cast seven demons and who supported Jesus financially (Luke 8:2-3). She saw where Joseph of Arimathea buried His body (Mark 15:47). She and the other women with her went back to where they were staying to prepare spices for burial (Luke 23:56), and as soon as the Sabbath was over (sundown Saturday) Mary and her companions went out to the tomb.
They found the stone sealing the tomb had been rolled away and an angel was sitting inside (Mark 16:4-5). He told them that Jesus had risen from the dead. “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee’” (vs. 7). Mary raced to tell the eleven disciples what she had discovered (Luke 24:9).
Luke records, “But they [the disciples] did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (Luke 24:11). John adds more detail: “So Peter and the other disciple [John] started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen” (John 20:3-7).
Peter left to go back to the place where he was staying, still wondering or marveling at what had happened (Luke 24:12).
Given all that had happened from Wednesday through Sunday that week, what do you think was going through Peter’s mind at this time?