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“You denied the Holy and Righteous One.” In speaking to the people, Peter does something that is rather interesting. He is talking about the sin of the people. But lest we think he his pointing his finger at them for having failed, the way he points out their sin is by pointing out his sin. “You denied the Holy and Righteous One.” See, the people denied Jesus by asking for Barabbas. Peter denied Jesus out of fear for his own life.

But the denial by the people, we are told, was because of ignorance. The denial by Peter was after three years of coming to believe in Jesus the Christ, and a few hours after his pledge that he would give his life for Jesus. But because of the powerful grace of God, the end result can be the same for the people and for Peter. Jesus forgives all who turn to him in love.

The loving power of Jesus is the message of Easter. Peter denies three times, then three times he affirms his love for Jesus, who then shares with him that this time, Peter will give his life for Jesus. Thomas does not believe solely on the testimony of the disciples, but only when he has the encounter with the Risen Christ. John, faithful even standing at the foot of the Cross, does not hold grudges.

I deny the Holy and Righteous One. I wish I did not, but indeed I do. I sin. I reject God. Despite my best intentions, I turn away from the gospel, I set bad example, I fail. But time and again, over and over, Jesus calls me with his grace. He welcomes me back when I repent, and he reminds me of his love for me, love I do nothing to earn and do not deserve. Jesus offers all of this to you, too. He so desperately wants a relationship with you. He wants to love you, to care for you, to offer you the eternal life and life-changing relationship that only he can give. The resurrection of Jesus we celebrate this Easter season is one where once again we are given a choice. But this time, let us choose Jesus and recognize all he does for us. Alleluia!

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