John 20:3-4 tells us the tale of Mary Magdalene coming from the empty tomb to get the disciples. “So Peter went out with the other disciple ( the one who Jesus loved,) and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.”
It’s an amusing passage, a odd moment carefully recorded and preserved. One layer suggests it is John casting a bit of good natured shade on Peter for all of eternity, but scripture tends to reveal itself ”precept by precept, a little here, a little there.” It’s easy enough for a child to understand but it has enough layers to keep the wisest man busy for decades. So yes, perhaps John just wanted it known that he beat Peter in a foot race and God honored that victory by having it recorded for all of eternity.
Peter however, is also symbolic of the rock, on whom I shall build my church. The symbolism, the parable in the tale tells us that it’s not necessarily the church who gets to Jesus first, but the one He loves who runs towards Him the fastest.
Who is the one who Jesus loved? You are.
It’s a long forgotten lesson that has fallen to the wayside many schisms ago, but I think it’s a really important one that we should drag out of the closet, dust off, and revive.
Church can become an idol, a country club, a mausoleum to the saints, or something so worldly it looks like an extension of secular government, or of social justice……..or of secular entertainment. There have been many times in my life where I have felt so alone and so far from Jesus and I realized that the only time I ever felt this way, I was usually sitting right in the middle of a church.
It is important, church matters, “do not neglect to meet together as is the habit of some,” but it is not the main thing, it does not get you to Jesus any faster. You get to Jesus by knowing you are, the disciple who He loved and running towards Him as fast as you can.