Last week, my Facetime group finished studying the life of Jesus. We read about the disciples sleeping when Jesus deeply desired for them to be with Him, fleeing during His arrest, and conspicuously absent (except for John) at His crucifixion.
Peter denied Jesus 3 times. Peter failed Jesus-big time! For the most part, I do not identify with Peter because he is outspoken and seems to enjoy being in the middle of things. However, this aspect -disappointing Jesus- to that I can relate. I have slept when I should have been praying. I have I have retreated when I should have taken a stand. I have allowed my feelings to dictate my actions instead of faith.
I wonder what the encounter was like after Jesus rose from death and appeared to the disciples. The last thing they did was abandon him during his most difficult hours. We don’t know all that was said or what transpired between that meeting and the next occasion when the disciples had returned to fishing. However, once Peter recognized him on the shore, he didn’t hesitate but took off his outer garment and threw himself into the sea in his eagerness reach Jesus.
Peter denied Jesus 3 times, yet when they met again, Jesus did not ask Peter to confess his sin but to confess his love. In John 21, Jesus questioned Peter 3 times, “Do you love me?” Every time Peter adamantly affirmed his love for Jesus. Each time, Jesus instructed Peter to watch over and tend his sheep. Peter wasn’t chastised or dismissed. He was given the very role Jesus embodied – shepherding.
The shepherd became the sacrifice. Because of his love for his sheep, Jesus, our shepherd laid down his life for us.
Peter would ultimately give up his life because of his love for Jesus. After Peter failed, he didn’t give up and go home, he jumped in and served with the strength the Lord gave him until his very last breath.
When our love of Jesus is foremost, our life is focused properly. We won’t live looking back to all the ways we have failed to measure up but in the new grace He lavishes on us each new day.
There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1