The Power to Forgive

Jon Brown

Read: John 20:1-10; Matthew 6:14-15

So she ran and went to Simon Peter. (John 20:2 NRSV)

This is the first time Peter’s name shows up in the Gospel of John following his denial of Jesus. On the dark night we call Good Friday, Peter acted as if he did not know the man. Now, with the crucifixion hanging heavy on the hearts of the disciples and the burial of Jesus’ dead body clearly indicating this had not been just a bad dream, Mary goes to the tomb to grieve. When she sees that the stone has been rolled away, the first thing she does is run to Peter.

I think Mary’s actions tell us something about the way the church should behave. Mary did not treat Peter as if he were an outcast, even though he had denied Jesus in his hour of need. Mary must have known what Peter had done. She stood with John, who had witnessed Peter’s denial, at the foot of the cross when Peter was nowhere to be found. Yet she found it in her heart to forgive him. Mary’s actions prefigure what Christ himself would do for Peter: forgive him. John 21 makes this clear.

We have the power to forgive sins. Jesus even says, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven” (John 20:23 NRSV). Ours is the wonderful opportunity to follow in the way of Christ and in the way of Mary, and forgive. It is not easy, but it is the way of Christ, and Mary helps to show us that way. —Jon Brown

As you pray, ask God to help you forgive those who need forgiveness from you.