Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. (Micah 7:18)
The 12 are celebrating Passover with Jesus for the last time. Jesus looks all of His disciples in the eyes with a straight face, and tells them that in just a few hours, they would all abandon Him and leave Him once His suffering began. Good ol’ Peter shoots up and passionately declares “Lord, I would NEVER do that. Even if all these other losers fall away, I wont!” Jesus turns to Peter and says “Oh Peter, you’ll be the worst of all: when it comes down to it, and they identify you as My follower, you’ll deny even knowing Me.”
The night plays out. Jesus is arrested, all the disciples bounce, and Jesus is taken to the Sanhedrin so they can find some way to falsely incriminate the innocent Son of God. And who do we see trailing behind at a safe distance? None other than the brave Simon Peter! We all know how the story goes: a little servant girl (probably 14 or so) identifies Peter as a disciple of the Lord, and he denies knowing the Man three times. Peter, the leader of the 12 disciples, the first one to raise his hand when Jesus asks a question, one of His inner circle friends. This is the same man who said “You are Christ, the Son of the Living God!”, and now he’s saying “I don’t even know that Man.”
We all know Peter, we all love Peter, because we can all see ourselves in Peter. How many times do we find ourselves denying Jesus, either in our words with other people, or by our actions when we stumble in sin? As someone who struggles with the stronghold of lust and temptation, I know all too well what it’s like to feel like I’ve failed the Lord, especially when I share such tender moments with Him or have such a tangible sense of His love, and STILL fall into Satan’s traps!I know that feeling of deep discouragement and shame, like I can’t dare to turn to Him now, before I do this and that, otherwise I’m a hypocrite!
But the amazing news of the Gospel is that on the night of His arrest, when everyone He knows and loves is gone, and He’s left to face His suffering and death all alone, Jesus was abandoned and condemned so that any and everyone who has faith in Him would never have to be! The Suffering Servant stood in our place, and endured the pain and suffering that was meant to be our punishment! How beautiful is that? When we stumble in sin, the Lord doesn’t leave us or forsake us; He doesn’t shame us or shake His head in disbelief. On the contrary, He makes it His goal to restore us! 1 John 1:9 says if we come to God and openly tell Him about our mistakes, and confess them to Him, He is guaranteed to forgive us, and wipe our slate clean!
Does our sin grieve God, and hurt Him? Of course! Does it strain our relationship with Him? Absolutely! In no way does this beautiful truth deny the fact that sin is serious and has dire consequences. If it wasn’t, the son of God wouldn’t have had to die in order to rescue us from it! This truth gives us the confidence of knowing that those consequences were laid on Jesus Christ when He suffered in our place! If we truly love God and have faith in Jesus Christ, we’ll have the urge to turn from the path we’re heading down (repent), and be made right with Him, so He can restore the relationship between us.
- The purpose of this word to you guys is for you not to be pushed away from God by guilt and shame when you inevitably stumble in sin, but rather run to Him because you know with confidence that He wants to forgive and restore you, like He did with Peter after His resurrection, and like He does for me. Because of 2 Corinthians 5:21, we have the promise of God’s presence and love and grace in our lives for eternity. Walk in that if you’re struggling today, and turn back to Him, He’s waiting for you!
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him! (2 Cor. 5:21)