God restores us
Have you ever felt like you’ve messed up so badly that there is no chance of return? Major life decisions are often made in those difficult times. Sometimes we decide to never feel that way again and put in measures to prevent it, but sadly many people run away to avoid facing the painful situation.
Peter made a bold statement, that nothing could make him deny Christ and that he was willing to follow him, even if it meant hardship and death. However Jesus knew what was about to happen and warns him.
But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” – Luke 22:33,34.
Peter went on to deny Christ publicly three times, just as Jesus said he would. Peter was trying to keep a low profile and simply responded to people in a very difficult situation. He had no intention to deny his friend, but we can often be driven into doing what we don’t want to do when we try to fit into the company we keep. When Peter finally realised what he had done, he was devastated and must have felt there was no way he could come back from that.
And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly. – Luke 22:61,62.
We can find ourselves responding to the community around us and not wanting to offend or stand out. Before long, we will have opportunities to stand up for what we believe or slip back into the safety of obscurity. This may not feel like an out right denial of Christ, but we are not taking the opportunities to change those around us when they are presented.
There may come a moment of clarity amidst the words of justification, when we recognise how many opportunities we’ve missed to bring glory to God. It may be that you have slipped away from the narrow path little by little, until you find yourself living a life which no longer resembles the life on fire for God which you once lived. We may suddenly realise that in our struggle to be accepted, we have indeed denied Christ. As painful as this can be, God makes a way of restoration.
After Christ was crucified and resurrected, He had an intimate breakfast on the beach with His friends. Just as Peter had publicly denied Christ three times, now we see Jesus publicly restoring Peter three times.
So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. – John 21:15-17.
This is a wonderful picture of how God meets with us at times when we can barely forgive ourselves, but He forgives us. If we respond to God in these times, He lovingly restores us to a place of trust and service once more.
Peter didn’t allow his failure to define him, but came back to Christ and went on to do great things. During his conversation over breakfast, Peter is given a new job to do, but it’s based on the quality of his love for Jesus.
Like Peter, we can choose to accept the forgiveness and restoration of a loving saviour who wants the best for us. Don’t allow your bad decisions and failures to define your destiny, but instead, allow God to restore you back to Him. Then you can go on to great things as you serve and minister out of your love for Christ.