Jesus Loves a Backslider

“And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed.  And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.  But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (Mark 16:5-8)

Trembling and astonished, the were all dumbfounded, but the young man singles out Peter and sites him by name. Yes, even Peter was to be told and invited to Galilee. He had denied any acquaintance with Jesus just a few days prior.

“Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, ‘This man also was with him.’ But he denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know Him.’ And a little later someone else saw him and said, ‘You also are one of them.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I am not.’  And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, ‘Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about'” (Luke 22:56-60).

A rooster crowed.  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.

And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times. And he went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:61-62).

A short time before that was a blunt warning to Peter from Jesus:

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.  Peter said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me'” (Luke 22:31-34).

Right after the warning to Peter they went to the Mount of Olives. Jesus, in agony cries to the Father:

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

Peter and the other disciples are “sleeping for sorrow.” Jesus again corrects them, “Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.

Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. See John 18:3 and 10.

Jesus would have none of it and healed the man completely.

Having failed miserably,

“I am going fishing,” says Peter. They said to him, “We will go with you.”

Friends, in the sifting we may sleep for sorrow. We may misunderstand our role as Christians. We may fight the wrong fight. We may fear and self protect through denial. Peter did all these and more. Concluding that any restoration was impossible, he reversed his sights toward his old lifestyle. But there was still more to come.

Unsuccessful fishing that night, the risen Jesus addressed them from the shore. “Children, do you have any fish?” “No” “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” They did. See John 21.

“Come and have breakfast.”

Then said Jesus directly to Peter,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

” …a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” “Yes” “Tend my Sheep.”

” …the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter, grieved, saw the point of the probing. You know all Lord, you know I love you!

“Feed my sheep.”

Beloved, His love in us is enough, be restored.

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