Peter in his zeal blurts out “I will never be made to stumble”. Again moments later, in rebuttal to Jesus’ prophetic word in Matt 26:34-35, revealing that he would deny Him three times; Peter emphatically declares, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” Strong words that came from love and a life that was transformed by the Master. As well, the other disciples followed in voicing their commitment and devotion to Jesus that historic night on the Mount of Olives not knowing exactly what would shortly transpire.
The city was doing construction on the sewer lines in front of my Aunt and Uncles house many years ago while they were keeping my siblings and me for a summer. My brother and I were at the young age where curiosity can make you do things you shouldn’t. I remember so vividly my uncle sternly saying, before he went to work that day, “Do not play around or get down into that construction hole”. Well… even though we had made a oath and commitment that we would never do that we were overtaken and enticed with adventure. Being able to resist no longer, my brother lowered me into the hole later that day for a harmless look. Then at the sight of my uncle coming around the corner he ran and left me in the
Jesus still loves us even after we have made great commitments to Jesus and then failing Him and totally blowing it. (tweet)
hole. The willow tree that conveniently hung over in my sight was a perfect place for my uncle to get a branch and proceed with one hand to help me out and wimped me all in the same motion.
More than the sting of the whooping was the pain of knowing I had failed in my oath and commitment that I had made to my uncle. The thought of disappointing him and possible losing his love was worse than any other pain I was feeling. It wasn’t until later that a valuable lesson was learned.
In comparison I can vaguely imagine the feeling of disappointment that Peter must have felt once Jesus’ words came to reality. We read the account of Peter’s three denials of Jesus in Matt 26:69-72. In the most crucial point of Jesus’s ministry the disciples are shaken to the point of denial and desertion. In verse 75, it says that once the rooster crowed Peter remembered the word of Jesus and being devastated went out weeping bitterly. The impact of denying the one who had lovely walked with him along the journey the past years now shook him to the point of quitting and returning to his old lifestyle (John 21:2-3).
Many times we can find ourselves in the same valley that Peter did making great commitments to Jesus and then through random circumstances end up denying Him and totally blowing it. Too often these situations bring guilt, shame and condemnation to the point of us quitting. Like Peter we are in love with Jesus, yet because of over confidence, pride, personal areas that are left un-dealt with can cause us to stumble in our commitments.
But just as we see in this story of Peter (John 21:15-17) where Jesus meets the disciples on the shore preparing breakfast for them. Jesus confronts the shame that Peter is feeling by connecting him back to His love and declaring God’s purpose for him, “feed my sheep”. The scripture says there is nothing that can separate from God’s love! (Rom. 8:39) Therefore, let us not quit out of condemnation and shame when we fail but run back into the open arms of Jesus who loves us.