“…Then Peter and the other disciple (John) set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.” (Jn 20:3-9)
Peter and John run to the tomb, having heard the disturbing news from Mary Magdalene that it was empty. It is understandable that John, the youngest of the disciples, runs faster than the older Peter. What is more remarkable is that John, who faithfully remained by the Cross to the very end, still has an open heart to Peter, who just recently thrice denied Christ. So at this point, John is “stronger” than Peter, but John’s heart is no less open to him.
In fact, John follows Peter’s lead when they get to the tomb. John’s sensitive nature doesn’t allow him to enter the tomb. He stands in trepidation or perhaps confusion, just peeking in to see the abandoned linen wrappings. Here Peter’s strength of character is a help to John, because Peter doesn’t think twice when he gets to the tomb. He hurries inside, and John follows. Now, inside the tomb, John is once again the “stronger” one, because John “sees and believes,” while Peter remains in the dark. Peter, apparently bogged down by his denial of Christ, is not quick to recognize light and hope when they stare him in the face. Thus a denial of Christ makes us condemn ourselves, even when God is offering us light.
I remind myself today of this remarkable fellowship of the disciples, both in strength and weakness. God supports my faith, at its strong and weak points, through other faithful, whatever their strengths or weaknesses. Let me have an open heart today, and remember that God works through other people.