How Peter’s denial is comforting

Peter, or St. Peter as many know him, is not represented in Scripture as the perfect disciple.  Now, often he gets a bad rap for being rash and unfaithful.  He tried to correct the Savior a couple of times.  Later, in the church, we see that he starts to waffle on how Gentiles were to be treated in the church.  But overall, we would be blessed to be half the man Peter was in terms of his faithfulness to Jesus and his zeal for His kingdom.

With that said, we do see several of his failures in Scripture.  One of them is found at the last supper.  Jesus foretells Peter’s denial, and Peter says, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33).  Even after three years of walking with the Savior, he’s still trying to correct the Truth Himself, though maybe with good intentions.  Jesus responds, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me” (v34).

Well, of course, Jesus was right about this, and Peter does, when put to the test, denies Jesus three times the next morning.  Then, the rooster crows.  It is a devastating moment when that happens, and we can see the anguish both in Peter and in the Savior.  However, it’s also an encouragement to us.

What if Jesus, knowing that Peter was going to deny Him, decided, “Well, then forget you!”  Instead, Jesus said, “When you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (v32).  It was His plan that Peter would be restored and that God would tremendous things through Him for His glory.  If a heavyweight like Peter can fall, then what about lightweights like you and me?  

This is an encouraging story for us, because we see God’s unconditional grace on and compassionate mercy for His people.  It’s never a surprise to Him when a Christian stumbles.  And He forebears with believers, even though they sin against Him day after day.  Of course, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, they are also fighting sin, turning again, like Peter.  And as John would write to the church, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Today’s readings:
Psalm 31
Genesis 28:10-22
2 Chronicles 5
Luke 22:1-46

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