Monday, 5 May 2014

Restored and Forgiven

On Sunday I preached from John 21:1-9, looking in part at the exchange between Peter and Jesus. A number of things come from reading this but the big one for me was related to forgiveness and restoration.

If you know the Easter story, you will know how bravely Peter had said he would follow Jesus, even if it meant dying with him. When the chips were down, Peter, as Jesus had told him, denied that he knew Jesus for fear of his life. A monumental failure.

So what would be our' response to a monumental failure or even a small failure, on the part of a friend, which caused us hurt and damage? Insist on reparations (some making up for it); public humiliation (maybe it might make us feel better); Ignore it and drop them as a friend?

Jesus did none of these things, didn't even mention it, he simply took Peter aside and ask him if he loved him. Oh, and in the process charged him to shepherd, look after, care for the church that would grow in Jesus' name.

Why was this possible? Well I think the look from Jesus post Peters denial of knowing him and Peters heart broken reaction at the realisation of what he had done, tells it all. He broke in tears, recognising his failure. Peter had made no attempt to make light of it as he met Jesus, he made no attempt to justify it, after all the rest had all run away. He simply walked with Jesus and was restored, knowing that he was forgiven, because he had faced his mistake and not tried to hide it or justify it.

We will all mess up at times, some more often than others, but recognising that we have should break our hearts as we realise that the cross was for just such as us and forgiveness from Jesus is possible if we can only admit that we got it wrong.


Karl Relton considering 21st Century Mission said...

What was fresh for me this Easter was the Luke account (ch 22) where Jesus predicts the denial. In v32 Jesus talks of 'and when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers'.

In other words Jesus already looked ahead to the re-instatement, seeing through the failure and beyond to Peter's restoration.

Kind of forgiveness before we even realise we need it!

tony mayes said...

Thanks Karl, I think each time we read the accounts a little more comes into view.

Jesus knowing that Peter would fail, be broken over it, receive forgiveness and be restored, is challenging. Both from the forgiving and from the receiving forgiveness, angles.