Luke 24:33-34 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”
Paul also notes that after His resurrection Jesus revealed Himself to Peter first among His male disciples, (1 Corinthians 15:5) but we should also remember that Mary Magdalene was actually the first of His followers to see Him. (John 20:10-18) Women were definitely “2nd class citizens” in those days, but Jesus elevated them to a degree that was shocking to those around Him, and eventually transforming to society. While many rabbis were insisting that females shouldn’t be educated at all, Jesus welcomed Mary of Bethany to sit at His feet along with the male disciples. (Luke 10:38-42) The thing is, Jesus knew what each person’s need was, and met it. Mary Magdalene was one of those who had watched Jesus’ burial and was prepared to anoint His corpse, only to discover He wasn’t in the tomb. Peter was the one who had actively denied that he even knew Jesus, and was totally torn up over that fact. Jesus knew that Peter needed a special touch in order to believe he really could be forgiven, so Jesus granted him that. Don Francisco’s song, He’s Alive! is a powerfully moving dramatization of that encounter that I believe is probably very accurate, even though we have no description of it in the Bible. Mark is the record of Peter’s recollections, but I don’t think Peter wanted to draw extra attention to himself, so he didn’t describe that particular experience. What we need to remember is that as Jesus said, God knows exactly what we need, so we need to trust Him. (Matthew 6:8)
I’ve had many experiences of God knowing what I needed better than I did, and meeting the specific need. I’ve also had many experiences of being sure I needed something when God said otherwise, and provided something that actually was better. Yesterday in the service we had a total, and blessed, surprise when a couple came in who were strangers to us. When they introduced themselves after the service we found that they are dedicated Christians from another prefecture, moving here because of the husband’s job transfer. The wife has been active in their church’s music ministry, teaching voice and leading a Gospel choir. They expect to be here a minimum of five years, and were familiar with our church from having found us on the Internet. It was a fascinating confirmation of God’s plan that I said things in the message that matched perfectly a new direction their home church is taking in this year! The wife and their son will actually be moving here at the end of the school year in March, but the husband has already started work, and they have already located a house, rather than the company-provided apartment where the husband is right now. They will meet a need we were very aware of, but had no idea how to fill. God knew! As He told me many years ago, I just need to rest, relax, and rejoice!
Father, thank You for Your overwhelming grace. May I respond to that grace as You want me to, fulfilling all of Your purposes for me on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!