Yesterday as I was reading my Bible in the early morning hours, I came across the defining moment in Peter's life when he realized he was the worst person on the face of the earth. Yep, you know the moment I am talking about. Right when he denied Jesus for the third time and the rooster crowed. (See Mark 14:66-72)
I can picture his face as he realized that Jesus was right. He had denied his BEST friend not once, not twice, but THREE times! Verse 72 stuck out more to me yesterday than ever before. The last sentence said, (this is Peter it is referring to) "When he thought about it, he began to weep."
Now let's fast forward a little to the moment when Mary sees Jesus for the first time after His crucifixion. (See Mark 16: 9-13) She runs to tell all the others about what she has seen. Now even though Jesus shared with them what would be happening, NONE of them believed her, including Peter (vs 11) Peter in his depressed and disappointed state, could not believe, or maybe he didn't want to believe that Jesus was resurrected, because if He was, that meant that Peter would have to face his Best Friend and admit that he had denied Him like Jesus said He would.
At this point, it would have been great for Peter to get up and start doing what he was supposed to as a Christian. However his focus was not on Christ, but what He had done to Christ. Forget that Jesus had just taken the punishment for his faulty behavior. Forget that Jesus told Peter everything that would be taking place. All Peter could focus on was the fact that he had let Jesus down.
Fast forward now to the third time that Jesus appeared. (see John 21:1-19) Peter tells the other disciples, "I'm going fishing." They decided to go with him. They fished all night and caught nothing. Can you relate? When you are down and out, things just keep on spiraling and spiraling. Here he is trying to catch fish and can't catch a darn thing!
Jesus shows up,and asks them if they caught anything. They say no and he tells them where to cast their nets, and they did and there were so many fish they could not haul them in.
He meets them on the shore with a delicious breakfast cooking on the open fire and he begins talking to Peter. He asks Peter 3 different times if he loved him. 3 different times, Peter says yes and 3 different times, Jesus tells Peter something different to do to show his love.
At this moment Jesus is letting Peter know that each time he denied him has been forgiven. At this moment, Peter knows that Jesus loves him and has accepted him even though he denied Him. All has been forgotten and Peter has been restored.
From this point on, you never read of Peter being two faced. You only read of his courage and his faith in Jesus. You read of his passion and how he preached so hard thousands came to Christ.
I can so relate to Peter. During the times I have let Jesus down, I forget that He loves me, not like humans, but like God, and that He forgives and continues to love me. But many times, I only focus on the disappointing moments of failure.
I have come to learn in my own walk with Christ, that Jesus does NOT focus on those failed moments. He focuses on what can come out of those moments. He doesn't look at what I've done with a disdain look on his face. He says to my heart, "Let's see what miracle we can make of this mistake." I love those moments when He completely restores me to His side, and like Peter, I can stand firm and strong for Him.
Today, don't focus on all the wrong that you have done. Focus on all the right that Jesus wants from you. It can happen, but you have to be willing to let go of the past like Peter, and grab hold of the the future. As Jesus said to Peter,
"Do you love Me? Feed my lambs."
Do you love Me? Shepherd my sheep."
Do you love Me? Feed my sheep."
Be the one person that God wants you to be, and feed and shepherd those that God puts in your path.