Posted by: pmarkrobb | April 17, 2017

His restoring

We have arrived at the most significant “day after” in history.  Everything changed that first Easter Sunday, and then the sun rose again on the very first day of “What now?”  In the shadows of the completion of God’s plan of redemption for all mankind, I would like to call attention to a personal story of redemption in the life of one of Jesus’ closest friends in this world.

There is no single character in the Bible who I can more deeply relate with than Peter.  Peter was a glorious mess.  In his sold-out self, he was everything I desire to be in following Jesus.  In his broken self, he was everything I can so easily recognize in myself.  And in his most visible failure I see every well-meaning, yet broken promise I’ve ever made to God.  “Even if all fall away, I will not,” Peter said in Mark 14:29.  He continues in the very next verse, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”  I can feel the immense weight of those moments and words with every fiber of my being.

As darkness blankets Golgotha, the curtain in the temple tears in two, the earth violently rumbles and shakes, and the last breath leaves the lips of our Savior, we expect it to be as He shouted … “It is finished!”  Jesus took the incalculable weight of the sins of all, for all time, on His own body and died as their only ransom.  Sin’s power and Peter’s wretched denial – they are over, it is finished!

Yet, this is nowhere near the end of Peter’s, Jesus’ or my (our) story.  Jesus died and was buried, yes. But He rose again, and He lives!!  In His rising, Jesus broke the power of death.  In His rising, He completed the work of redemption and its glorious gift of life.  In His rising, He erased the period at the end of Peter’s story.  Peter denied, the rooster crowed, and Satan began the work of locking Peter up in the prison of that single sin.  But there was more story to be written, and very soon the angels would begin it again as they announced Jesus’ resurrection to the women who had gathered at His tomb.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Mark 16:6-7

Whom should they tell?  “… go, tell his disciples and Peter.”  In the immediate aftermath of Peter’s denial, God began the work of pursuing and restoring him.  It was neither a random detail or flippant mention of Peter’s name as the angels said “go, tell.”  It was an intentional and purposeful step Jesus took in Peter’s direction, and He wasn’t finished yet.  Jesus appears to His disciples several times between His resurrection and ascension into heaven.  On one of those occasions, He specifically turned to Peter and asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter quickly answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus asked again, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter answered once again with the same words.  Then Jesus asks a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  This time Peter seems a bit injured, but answers “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” (Conversation from John 21:15-17)

Was Jesus looking to make sure Peter loved Him?  Were His repeated questions an attempt to make an example of Peter?  I am certain Jesus did not need Peter’s assurances, and I do believe Jesus’ questions were making a statement — an intentional and meaningful statement to Peter and to us all.  Jesus sees through to Peter’s heart and knows the holes which remain from the devastating denials.  With the very same question asked intentionally three times, Jesus heals the holes, speaks His forgiveness, and fully restores Peter.  A broken servant, a healing Savior … what a perfect picture of who we are and who He is.

For me, there is no more enduring story when I think on the person of Peter.  Whenever I recall it, the countless instances of God’s forgiveness and restoration in my own life are replayed.  I am reminded of how deeply He loves me (and you).  I am reminded of the scandalously personal nature of God’s amazing plan of redemption.  Praise God that Peter’s story is also my own.  May we never forget how beautifully and bountifully Jesus loves, forgives, grants grace and restores.  He leaves the 99 to go searching for the one who is lost.  He sees the holes which need healing.  He knows us and calls us by name.

It has been our great privilege to walk into and through Holy Week with you.  I pray you see Jesus, and see yourself, more truly and completely.  And now, in the spirit of that first Monday after, may we begin anew in following our Savior!


Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing your time spent with God and your thoughts over the past 9 days. It has been a joy to be invited along. 🙂 Father, thank You for sending Your Son! Jesus, thank You for sending the Spirit!


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