I know I’d read that passage a hundred times. But I’d never seen it. Maybe I’d passed over it in the excitement of the resurrection.
But I won’t miss it again. It’s highlighted in yellow and underlined in red. You might want to do the same. Look in Mark, chapter 16. Read the first five verses about the women’s surprise when they find the stone moved to the side. Then feast on that beautiful phrase spoken by the angel, “He is not here, he is risen,” but don’t pause for too long. Go a bit further. Get your pencil ready and enjoy this jewel in the seventh verse (here it comes). The verse reads like this: “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee.
Did you see it? Read it again. (This time I italicized the words.)
“But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee.”
Now tell me if that’s not a hidden treasure.
What a line. It’s as if all of heaven had watched Peter fall—and it’s as if all of heaven wanted to help him back up again. “Be sure and tell Peter that he’s not left out. Tell him that one failure doesn’t make a flop.”
No wonder they call it the gospel of the second chance.
Not many second chances exist in the world today. Just ask the kid who didn’t make the little league team or the fellow who got the pink slip or the mother of three who got dumped for a “pretty little thing.”
Not many second chances. Nowadays it’s more like, “It’s now or never.” “Around here we don’t tolerate incompetence.” “Not much room at the top.” “Three strikes and you’re out.” “It’s a dog-eat-dog world!”
Jesus has a simple answer to our masochistic mania. “It’s a dog-eat-dog world?” he would say. “Then don’t live with the dogs.” That makes sense doesn’t it? Why let a bunch of other failures tell you how much of a failure you are?
Sure you can have a second chance.
Just ask Peter. The message came loud and clear from the celestial Throne Room through the divine courier. “Be sure and tell Peter that he gets to bat again.”
It’s not every day that you get a second chance. Peter must have known that. The next time he saw Jesus, he got so excited that he barely got his britches on before he jumped into the cold water of the Sea of Galilee. It was also enough, so they say, to cause this backwoods Galilean to carry the gospel of the second chance all the way to Rome where they killed him. If you’ve ever wondered what would cause a man to be willing to be crucified upside down, maybe now you know.
It’s not every day that you find someone who will give you a second chance—much less someone who will give you a second chance every day.
But in Jesus, Peter found both.