How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! Psalms 32:1 (HCSB)
When my kids were young, we were staying with my family in a cabin at a State Park. My youngest brother and his wife were there with my parents. The kids were sitting around the coffee table playing a game.
My youngest was about two at the time. While he was sitting in the chair, he was tilting it forward. I thought to myself, I should have him put it down. But I didn’t. Instead, I thought it would be fine.
In the next instant, the chair flipped out from under him. His chin hit the table and cut open. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the hospital getting stitches.
I felt terrible. If I had just had him put his chair down flat when I had thought to, it would never have happened. But it was too late to take back what I hadn’t done.
Have you ever done something and then wished you hadn’t done it? I think one of Jesus’ disciples, Peter, did.
Peter was a close friend of Jesus. Along with his brother, he was the first to be called to Jesus’ ministry. Weeks before Jesus’ death, Peter proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God. When Jesus began to predict His death, Peter felt he could chastise Him for it.
Yet in the last twenty-four hours of Jesus’ death, what does Peter do? He denies ever knowing Jesus, not just one time, but three. But here is the kicker: Jesus told Peter he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed twice.
The account of Peter’s denial is recounted in all four Gospels: Matthew 26:69-75, Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:15-18, and 25-27. Reading all four gives you four different points of view. It’s like watching a show from different angles. I’ll try to put it all in one point of view.
When Jesus was arrested they brought Him to the high priest. Peter and John followed at a distance. When they arrived, John went inside because he was an acquaintance of the high priest. When he realized Peter was still outside, he went back out and brought him in.
It was cold, so the temple police had started a fire in the courtyard. While Peter stood warming himself, the slave girl, who was the doorkeeper, asked him if he was one of Jesus’ disciples. Peter said, “Woman I am not!” A rooster crowed.
Peter continued to warm himself because he wanted to see what was happening with Jesus. They kept looking at him and asked him again if he was a disciple. Peter denied it a second time.
They noticed his accent and told him he must be one of Jesus’ disciples because he was a Galilean. Peter not only denied it but did it with curses and swearing.
The rooster crowed a second time. Jesus looked into Peter’s eyes. Then Peter remembered what Jesus said. He went out and cried.
I can’t imagine the emotions going through him. All this time, he believed himself a friend of Jesus only to turn his back on Him. The wonderful thing is this, Jesus didn’t stay dead. Peter’s guilt was redeemed and forgiven when Jesus died on the Cross and rose from the dead. Peter was able to continue being a friend of Jesus and became one of the greatest leaders of the early church.
Lord, I thank You for this lesson in forgiveness. No matter the things I’ve done wrong, I can always ask You to make them right.