Peter's Easter story
Helping children learn about God's care
Sometimes we mess up. We want to do well but don't always succeed. The Bible story of Peter helps us know that we can get past our mistakes and do better. Peter was one of Jesus' disciples. He did some really important things. But not always. Peter made mistakes.
Easter is mostly about Jesus, of course, but it's partly about Peter, too. Jesus first found Peter when Peter was fishing. He must have seen something good and strong and willing in Peter, because he said, "Follow me" (Matt. 8:22). And Peter did. He saw the healings Jesus did, and heard him preach, and became his disciple.
After the disciples and Jesus ate their last supper together, Peter promised Jesus that he would never desert him. But Jesus told Peter that three times before morning Peter would deny that he knew Jesus. Peter said he wouldn't.
Then Jesus took Peter and two of the others to the garden of Gethsemane, where he wanted to pray. He asked them to stay with him and to watch and pray. But they fell asleep. Three times he asked them, and each time, they fell asleep. Then, soldiers came and captured Jesus.
Peter pulled out his sword to protect Jesus and wounded one of the men. But Jesus healed the man's wound and told Peter not to fight for him. He knew what to do. The crucifixion needed to happen. The soldiers took Jesus away, and the disciples ran off.
Peter followed the crowd a long way back, because he wanted to see what would happen to Jesus. While he was watching and waiting, three different people asked him if he knew Jesus. Each time, Peter said no he wasn't one of Jesus' disciples. Peter then heard the morning rooster crow, and remembered he'd made a promise never to desert Jesus. When he realized what he had done, he left and wept bitterly.
Jesus was taken to the governor, Pontius Pilate. The people wanted Jesus crucified. Pilate agreed. Men put a scarlet robe and a crown of thorns on Jesus to make fun of him. Some people spit at him. Some hit him. Men took him to be nailed to a cross.
When Jesus was on the cross, people laughed at him, thinking that he couldn't save himself. They were sure God wouldn't help him and that Jesus wasn't really God's Son. But right there on that cross Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). All this happened while Jesus' mother and the disciple John were at the cross, wanting to be with Jesus. But Peter wasn't there.
Later, a man named Joseph of Arimathaea got permission to take Jesus' body to a sepulcher (a cave for burying). They rolled a huge stone in front so the body would be safe.
Three days later, some women came to see the sepulcher, and they found it open! An angel told them not to be afraid, because Jesus had risen from the dead. With great excitement, they ran to tell the disciples. Peter and John hurried to the cave to see for themselves. Jesus was not there. He had risen from the dead.
Jesus did come to talk with his disciples again. One time was after the disciples had gone back to fishing. Maybe they thought their work as disciples was finished. They all ate together, and afterward Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. Peter said yes each time. And Jesus asked him to feed his lambs and sheep. He was asking Peter to keep on following him.
Jesus told the disciples to go out in the world and preach what he had taught. "Signs" would follow. Those signs would be healings. After this last talk with them, Jesus "withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven." (Luke 24:51).
You can be sure that after all of this, nothing would ever be the same for Peter (or for the others). Now he understood what Jesus taught. This changed him. He found the courage to trust God and carry on Jesus' work.
We know that Peter traveled everywhere, telling people about Jesus and the things Jesus had taught about God. Many people came to Peter to be healed. He even raised the dead.
What about us? Like Peter, we can learn more and more about God and not be stopped by mistakes we make along the way. God will show us how to know Him, how to trust Him, and how to heal, just as Jesus wanted us to do.