Jessica Albritton, NextGen Minister LHBC
31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”
The Bible holds absolutely nothing back, readers are privy to the good, the bad and the ugly. The Word of God doesn’t airbrush blemishes from its record, it tells it as it happened. In its pages we see heroes and villains, warts and all. Peter is no exception, I often feel bad for him. All throughout scripture we read countless stories of his faithfulness to the Lord but we also see his mess-ups, his failures. We all have our shortcomings, we all fail, sin leaves us broken, the difference is my failures in life are not recorded on the pages of the most popular book to ever hit the shelves.
In the book of Luke we find Peter on the wrong side of an “I told ya so” situation. Close to Jesus’ arrest, right after the Last Supper Jesus looks to Peter and predicts his denial. Of course Peter is quick to defend himself. Peter had walked with Jesus for years, he had defended Jesus, preached to others of Jesus’ goodness, he was a firm believer, there was no way in the world that he of all people would deny Jesus. In fact, just a few verses up Peter was involved in a dispute with the other disciples where they argued about which one of them was the greatest disciple. Peter was confident in his commitment to the Lord.
Now Peter had messed up before but if I had to rank all his failures, this would definitely be at the top of my list. Peter’s confidence in himself and his commitment to Jesus was so strong that it led him to argue with Jesus, the Son of God Himself. We all do this though, don’t we? Flatter ourselves into thinking, “others may fail, but I’m strong, I love Jesus so much, I would never (fill in the blank)!”
As we continue to read in Luke we see that Peter did in fact deny Jesus. Scripture records that as Peter was denying Jesus for the 3rd and last time he heard the rooster crow and remembered the prediction Jesus had made earlier that evening. Verse 61 states as Peter realizes what he had done he looks out into the crowd and makes eye contact with Jesus who I can only imagine is thinking, “told ya…” Peter is so overcome with guilt and shame he begins to weep bitterly.
There is something to be said about the kindness of God in relation to His foreknowledge of our sin. If I knew I’d be betrayed, I’d adjust my love accordingly. Withholding it most likely. But in stark contrast God extends love while having specific knowledge of our impending sin. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him. But Jesus also knew He would forgive Peter.
Later on in John chapter 21 we see Peter’s restoration after the resurrection. Peter’s denial could have discouraged him from continuing in ministry, the weight of the guilt and shame being too much to bear, but Jesus comes to Peter and does what only Jesus could do, He offered total forgiveness and reconciliation. What was true for Peter is also true for you and I today. The fact of the matter is, we have, and will, fail Jesus. Scripture tells us that our very best is but dirty rags compared to God’s perfection.
The Lord chose to go to the cross for Peter knowing every sin he would ever commit. In the same way He chose to go for us knowing our sin as well! His amazing love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace should move us to repent and turn back to Him when we fail.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, I am so painstakingly aware of my failures and shortcomings. But Lord, I am equally aware of your unexplainable, undeserving, love and forgiveness despite myself. Lord, help me to run to you and not from you when the guilt and shame are too much to bear. Lord your word proves your love and faithfulness! Thank you for the forgiveness that you offer to such a sinful wretch like me! In Jesus name, amen!
MEMORY VERSE FOR THE WEEK:
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!