Saint John Greenleaf of Mirkwood

To the delight of some and the chagrin of others, Peter Jackson inserted Legolas (Orlando Bloom) from Lord of the Rings trilogy into it’s prequel, The Hobbit.

I think that was fun, but now this?  Did PJ commission this painting showing the apostles John and Peter running to the tomb on Easter morning?  Has John (on the left) been made in the likeness of Legolas?

This would explain why John outran Peter on the way to the empty tomb.

It turns out that Peter Jackson didn’t commission this painting.  It is called Les Disciples and was painted in 1898 by  Eugène Burnand.  I’d never seen this picture until this week when Drew Dyck (@drewdyck)  posted it on Instagram & Twitter.  At the time, my comment to him was…

I must say Peter looks a little like me, and John looks a little like Legolas.  Perhaps it is a prophetic picture that I will one day chase Orlando Bloom to Jesus!  Or, maybe I’m just messed up.

Drew’s response is one I have to remember for future reference…

Chasing Orlando Bloom to Jesus – I think you have the title for your memoir!

For today, I’m not thinking about writing my memoir, but I am thinking about Peter and John’s footrace to Jesus’ empty tomb.  Their leader and teacher had been publicly executed.  The disciples considered themselves marked men, hiding in an upper room, but when their braver women friends told them the tomb was empty, these two men threw caution to the wind and beat feet to find out what was up.

Were the women crazy?  Mistaken?  Had someone stolen their Master’s body in a final indignity?

Peter and John didn’t know yet that everything was different now.  It wasn’t just that their lives had been changed, that their rabbi and friend had returned from the dead.

The world had been changed.  Death had been swallowed up in victory.  The Old Enemy had been defeated.

They weren’t just on the brink of being reunited with their Lord, their Lord had completed the work of reuniting them with God.  The dividing wall had been removed.  Guilt had been washed away by love.

In this painting, John might look a little like Legolas, but Peter looks a little like me.  It’s not just the beard.  Peter promised to stand with Jesus no matter what, but then denied Him three times.  Peter knew Jesus’ way of peace, but lashed out with a sword when the soldiers came to take Him away.  Peter seemed to have a knack for screwing up.

So do I.

But Jesus didn’t condemn Peter for his failings, He restored him with His love, with the Father’s love,  with the Son’s love, with the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus restored Peter the same way He restores us.  Notice what Jesus said to Mary Magdalene shortly after His two running disciples had examined the empty tomb and left in puzzlement.

“Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”  (John 20:17)

Jesus’ Father becomes our Father.  Jesus’ God becomes our God.

Whether you’re reading this on Easter or not, run to the empty tomb.  The Good News is there.  The Best News is there.