August 19, 2009
Back in the Game
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32 NIV emphasis added).
Friend To Friend
Yesterday, we looked at the night when Peter denied that he knew Jesus…three times. So what did Jesus do? Did he turn his back on Peter? Did he kick him off the ministry team? Did he say, “Three strikes? You’re out?” Let’s take a look.
Three days after Jesus had breathed his last earthly breath, the disciples received the news from the women who had gone to visit the grave. Mark reports that the angel told the women to go and “tell the disciples and Peter” that Jesus was alive (Mark 16:7). I wonder why the angel singled out Peter from the rest. Could it be that God knew Peter would need an extra measure of grace and assurance because of his failure?
Can you imagine how Peter’s heart raced as his feet ran to the empty tomb? I wonder what Peter was thinking as he kicked up the dust? Would he be ashamed to face Jesus if her were alive? Would he be grateful for another chance? Would Jesus even want to see him?
Peter did encounter Jesus after his resurrection. We don’t know how many times they were together or the conversations that took place. But God does allow us to witness how Jesus embraced and restored this broken “rock.”
After Jesus had appeared to the disciples and to many others, it seemed like life just went back to normal…the way it had been before Peter met Jesus. Peter and John went back to doing what they had been used to...fishing. One morning, as the sun rose over the horizon, their nets remained empty. A man called from the shore, “Friend, have you caught any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
“Throw your net on the other side of the boat and you will find some.”
As the nets begin to fill, John remembered a similar incident three years earlier and realized it was Jesus on the shore.
Compulsive Peter jumped in the water and swam to shore while the others hauled in the miraculous catch. After dinner, Jesus pulled Peter aside and asked him,
“Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?’
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.’
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)
June, in our devotion yesterday, felt much like Peter. “I denied Jesus each time I walked through the door of that abortion clinic,” she said, “but He has pulled me aside and asked, ‘June, do you love me?’ And I have answered as Peter, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’
“I had felt that I was too far gone for God to forgive me, but He showed me that there is no place that is too far away from His grace that He cannot save. My sin was not greater than God’s grace.”
Both June and Peter had felt like useless failures, but God pulled them aside, brought them to repentance and restored them to faith.
The enemy tells us the lie that we are worthless failures who are incapable of doing anything significant for Christ because of our sins and shortcomings. But you’ll not find Scripture to back that up. God welcomes the truly repentant, forgives their sins, and puts them back in the game of life to shine the light of Christ for Him.
So if you’re sitting on the bench, feeling like a failure, I’m asking…”Girlfriend, do you love Jesus?” If so, then take care of His sheep. He’s got work for you to do. Don’t spend one more day believing the lie of “three strikes and you’re out.”
Dear Lord, I can’t believe I messed up again. But You knew I would stumble before this day even began. I confess my sin to You and ask for Your forgiveness. Thank You for forgiving me. Thank You that you still use cracked broken vessels like me. I know that it is through those cracks that Your light can shine.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Go back up to today’s truth. Now that you’ve had two days to ponder this verse, what does it mean to you?
What do you think Peter felt about these words in hindsight?
How did God use Peter, a man who failed Jesus on one of the most important nights of His life, to impact the world?
Does that give you hope for yourself? If so, I’d love to hear about it. You can share your thoughts on my blog, www.sharonjaynes.com/blog.
More From The Girlfriends
Today’s lesson was taken from Sharon’s book, I’m Not Good Enough and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. The enemy would have you believe that you are a hopeless failure, but God says that your sin can be forgiven and you can start anew! His mercies are new every morning. To learn more about Sharon’s latest release, read an excerpt, or watch a video interview, visit the books and audio page of her website or click on the title, , I’m Not Good Enough and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves.
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