No matter how far or how long we’ve fallen, there’s hope and bright futures ahead for Christ followers. Everyone accumulates past failures but God delights in giving second chances. Matter of fact, to our astonishment, He grants unlimited opportunities until complete restoration occurs “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able (1 Corinthians 10:13a NKJV). Setting boundaries on enticements and plots by Satan, God promises to deliver us.
Today, let’s take a look at one of the most colorful characters in the New Testament. This rambunctious impetuous fisherman became a humble fisher of men for God’s kingdom. It was Simon Peter’s brother Andrew who first introduced him to the Nazarene and said, ‘we have found the Messiah’ (John 1:41). Peter, whom Jesus re-named ‘Rock’ failed his Master miserably in an hour of crisis. Yet, he was forgiven, fully restored and re-commissioned by the resurrected Jesus on Gailee’s seashore. In like manner, Jesus desires fellowship with us—drawing us closer and looking straight through to the bottom of our hearts until we surrender.
Knowing all things, Jesus knew Peter loved Him and said, “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:32 NKJV). The pivotal point for Peter’s transformation came after Jesus’ arrest. Luke’s gospel records Jesus’ eye contact with Peter, which led him to ‘go out and weep bitterly’ (Luke 22:61-62). Jesus’ fixed gaze and relentless mercy touched the proud and robust man profoundly, leading him to true repentance and a greater understanding of the Lord’s rich mercy.
Alfred Edersheim, a Jewish-Christian author, stated that the Son of God taught Peter valuable and lasting truths. One of which was instruction in self-knowledge and humility. Edersheim called Peter the “Apostle of Hope” because Peter’s natural and spiritual life ended well. Jewish historians believe Peter, after learning of his own crucifixion, requested they ‘hang him upside down’. He knew he wasn’t worthy to die in the same manner as Jesus. To me, this proves Peter changed into a new man who learned obedience and wanted God’s glorification more than his own.
Oh, Father God, thanks for new beginnings and graciously opening doors for our return to You. Align us with Your holiness and may we understand like Peter, we’re forgiven for past, present and future sins. Help us to end victoriously. Amen.