“It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy,”~Romans 9:16
© 2016 Lynn Abbott
Loyal Peter. Committed disciple.
Who can forget the Peter who drew the sword in Gethsemane? In wild fervor, Peter cut off the ear of one of those who came to arrest Christ!
Truly. No one could doubt Peter’s love and loyalty. Peter followed Christ with all his heart and soul.
For this reason, it must have been a terrible shock when Jesus predicted that Peter would deny Christ three times.
Peter? Bold Peter? You’ve got to be kidding.
If I had been there that night in the upper room, I likely would have asked, “If Peter can’t do it, who can?”
But, in fact, we know the story well. Peter, although ready to fight in the garden, succumbed to fear in the temple courtyard.
When the world accuses, when pressure mounts, you and I are prone to waver. And if there were any doubt about that, Peter’s life undeniably demonstrates how difficult it is even for those who appear most committed.
The wind blows, and sometimes the reed snaps.
Luke tells us that when the rooster crowed, Jesus simply looked at Peter. In that moment, Peter recognized his faith’s failure.
It isn’t surprising, then, that Peter–the disciple who loved the Savior with all his heart–went outside and “wept bitterly,” (Luke 22:62).
The rest of Peter’s story, though, gives us hope. Peter may have floundered midstream but he didn’t drown.
True, for three years, Peter sat under Jesus’ teaching. For three years, Peter watched Christ perform incredible miracles. For three years, with all that he had, Peter followed Jesus.
And yes, despite all of this, Peter fell apart.
Yet, from the beginning, Peter deeply loved Abba. And Abba’s grace covered all of Peter’s failures along the way. On a beach in Galilee after the resurrection, Jesus even entrusted Peter with significant ministry: “Tend My Sheep,” (John 21:17).
You might say that Peter’s denial was only a parenthetical middle.
Peter definitely experienced Abba’s grace firsthand, and this same Peter, who once denied Jesus, later wrote, “And the God of all grace…will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast,”(1 Peter 5:10).
Indeed. God’s grace forgives and restores, (1 John 1:9; Romans 8:1).
For this reason, when we willfully or unwittingly topple over fences, Abba picks us up and celebrates our return.
He never gives up on you and me.
We may falter, but Abba is certainly all in.