He was gone? He was gone where?
Fear overtook Peter as he made out the words through Mary’s sobs. He glanced at John whose face was pale and gray.
No, she had to be wrong. There was some mistake. Maybe she’d imagined it.
He looked past Mary down the path, her words no longer registering in his mind.
He only glanced towards John who made eye contact with him for a moment before he took off sprinting as hard as he could. His lungs burned from the lack of food and sleep. Weren’t there guards stationed here? Had they done something? He’d probably be arrested, but what did that matter if he caught a glimpse at the tomb? Would the guards be…dead?
Adrenaline flooded his body and made him feel as though he were flying. Was he really gone? Hope and doubt and…and… A sudden sickening feeling churned in Peter’s stomach. He remembered, and his eyes suddenly felt swelled and burning.
He’d jumped from the seat almost snarling. “I know not the man!” Peter’s stomach twisted into knots because he remembered his face. All that screaming and threatening and accusations going on around him, and Jesus had not even been paying attention because he had been looking at Peter. The rooster’s crow had sounded like a screeching alarm in his ears.
He was too far away to hear, Peter had thought. He couldn’t have possibly…heard me…
But that look. It wasn’t angry. It wasn’t upset. It didn’t even have emotion. It was just this gaze. This knowing gaze that saw past everything physical into the dark corners of the mind and soul. There might have been traces of sadness. There might have been traces of understanding. More than anything, though, it was just a look, and it said, “Remember what you’d said? And remember what I told you would happen?”
The air seemed blocked from making it to Peter’s lungs, and he slowed. It would just be best to fall on his knees and tell how sorry he was. Nevermind the dread. He felt dead and cold inside with such an awful aching. Dead or alive. Dead or alive. He was an awful person. Why had he gotten so angry? Tears burned in his eyes and clouded his vision. He just didn’t want Jesus to die. He just – he knew Jesus could have stopped it, but he knew that he wouldn’t.
John was ahead of him now. Wide eyed and panting. The older man still had his eyes locked straight ahead. It was in sight now. If there were guards, he hadn’t noticed, and he didn’t care. John slowed to a stop and gazed inside, but Peter kept going. Wiping his eyes, he stumbled down into the tomb’s door. It was…
John stepped in after him looking around curiously with those dark, careful eyes, analyzing each crack and crevice. They stood silently looking hollow grave clothes and the folded head napkin. Peter knelt down, but there was not trace. Why leave these here if they were going to steal the body, and why wrap up the napkin?
“He’s gone, Peter.” John said quietly.
It was undoubtedly true. He was gone, but he was where? Peter’s heart began to pound again, and it was faster than it had been while he was running. It didn’t matter what Peter had done because Jesus was gone, and all that mattered was where he was. Nothing was more important or could even compare to the importance of knowing where. Where? Alive? Had he said something about this?
Peter glanced at John whose dark eyes held a soft glint, the same light they had always caught when Jesus had spoken.
“Where is he, John?”
John looked at him with a smile folded on his lips. “He’s not here.”
It seemed so real and at the same time so unlikely and at the same time so impossible. But there was that widow’s son and Lazarus and Jairus’s daughter and the fact that God had created the whole earth and the seas and the stars above. This wasn’t impossible. His heart began to pound against his chest. Oh my… Oh my. Oh my.
But really… Was it even possible? That the Son of God could actually die?