Epic Fails had a great run through the Old Testament and I don't know about you, but I learned so much. Furthermore, I was so encouraged! I've had my fair share of failures and sometimes the guilt comes around to still haunt me. But discovering what God did with the lives of murderers, liars, cheaters, and more has so cultivated my own faith.
Today we jump into the New Testament and explore Peter's journey. Now Peter was one of the first two disciples Jesus called--it was him (at that time named Simon) and his brother Andrew that Jesus called. The two were fishing and Jesus called them to follow him and become fishers of men. Immediately both dropped what they were doing and left it all behind.
A little background on Peter: to start, his name was originally Simon before Jesus gave him the name Peter, which means "rock." He was married and had a wife throughout his time as a disciple. Fishermen in that day were known to be bold, abrasive, and rough; they were a man's man you might say. Peter had a reputation as a disciple of sticking his foot in his mouth and not being afraid to speak his mind. However, he was also the first disciple to call Jesus the Son of God. His name was changed to mean "rock" because he would end up becoming so critical to the foundation of the Early Church. But I'm getting ahead of myself!
Before Jesus is arrested he shares this in Matthew 26:30-35,
Jesus tells the disciples that they will deny him and Peter rebukes him! [Remember, foot in mouth problems]. Jesus then proceeds to speak directly to Peter that three times it will happen before the rooster crows. Peter was so adamant he would never betray Jesus and yet he would do this very thing. What this teaches us is to never say never. You might think you would never do this or that, yet because you are unwilling to admit the possibility you don't properly take the necessary precautions to guard yourself and may very well end up doing what you said you never would! I've sadly watched this played out time and again, even in my own life.
That night Peter would deny Jesus three times, and he didn't even realize it was happening until the rooster crowed. In his failure, he couldn't see what was happening until it was too late. Rather, he was so consumed by the circumstances he wouldn't admit what was happening.
Thankfully we serve an ever gracious Savior and Peter had the opportunity to talk with Jesus after the Resurrection. After Jesus is crucified and buried, Peter returned to what he knew--fishing. Can you imagine how he felt? If you've hurt or betrayed another you quite possibly have. His denied his best friend and Savior, now believing it was too late for reconciliation as Jesus had died. The guilt and shame he carried, along with the sorrow of losing someone he loved so much must have been immensely difficult. Thankfully, he did have a conversation with Jesus. After the Resurrection Jesus appears to some of the disciples and Peter literally jumps out of the boat to get to Jesus. There on the beach, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him; three opportunities to restore the three denials.
Maybe you've turned your back on God? You've lost a loved one, or perhaps a job and your livelihood. Maybe it's one disappointment after another and you feel like God has given up on you. Because you're feeling lost and forgotten you've decided to give up on God. Maybe try things your way. Stop that direction right now! Whether you've denied Jesus or are on that path, look to him and like Peter, run towards God! He will forgive you, always, as long as you have a repentant heart. It's never too late to run to him.
After that conversation, things changed in Peter's life. He ended up becoming what his name meant--a pillar in the early Church. He would boldly proclaim the Gospel over and over again, no matter the consequence; never did he betray Jesus again. In fact, he would end up being crucified for his commitment to the Savior he loved.
You are meant for so much more than you could imagine, no matter what you've done.
- Are you still struggling with shame or guilt from a moment you turned your back on God? Have a conversation with God about that and hand over that baggage to Him.
- How can you be a bold procliamer for Christ?