What motivates you more to believe? Do solid, factual claims motivate you? Do beautiful, emotional pictures motivate you? We are all wired differently here. But God has chosen to show us reasons to follow Christ that fall into both camps. Sometimes, he even does so in the same breath.
Mark 16:6-7 – 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”
Do you want reasons to believe in and follow Jesus? These 2 verses contain for you hard facts and sweet emotions. Whichever motivates you more should ring out.
On the factual side, there is the simple claim, “He has risen; he is not here.” The Bible tells us that Jesus, on Sunday, walked out of his tomb and was alive again. There was no longer a body in the grave. Jesus is not dead but alive. That is a simple, historical claim of fact. It is either true or false. It cannot be neither or both. Either Jesus is physically alive or he is not.
If Jesus is not alive, there is no reason to follow Christianity. All of the Bible’s claims are simply unreliable if Jesus is dead. But if Jesus is alive, then he has the right to command our repentance and faith. If Jesus is alive, all the Bible claims about itself and about Jesus is true. And if Jesus is alive, you owe him your very life and very soul.
On the emotional side, there is the little phrase, “and Peter.” It requires some context to see the beauty there, but it is not hard. Peter had denied Jesus. In front of hostile folks, Peter pretended that he had never met Jesus and was certainly not a follower of the Savior. How would Jesus respond to Peter now that he was alive again? Is it not beautiful to hear the angel instruct the women specifically to tell Peter that Jesus is alive. Jesus is not writing Peter off. There is grace for a man who failed Jesus miserably.
Why this should speak to our hearts is obvious. We fail the Lord. WE are not as strong as we should be. How lovely to know that Peter was not turned away. The God who would love Peter enough to specifically speak of him in the message to call the disciples together and encourage them is a good, loving, and gracious God. We, who have failed him over and over again must find courage that God would love us in the same way, with the same grace, that he showed his love to Peter.
What strengthens your faith more? Is it that Jesus is alive and the tomb is empty? Is it that God would graciously include a failure like Peter—like you and me—in his call to the disciples? Either way, the word is encouraging you to believe in Jesus and follow him with your life. He is worth following because he is gracious. He is worth following because he is alive.