But love covers all sins. Proverbs 10:12b
Did Peter think of himself as “that” guy? He dropped his nets and followed Jesus from the first time he met Him. He was in the inner circle with John and James, privy to Jesus’ thoughts and teachings. He loved Him. He emphatically told the Lord that the night of the last supper. Jesus had just said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’” (Matthew 26:31). Peter’s response sounds true to form: “Even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble.”
I wonder how he sounded when he said those words to Jesus. Did he sound proud? Speak softly? Raise his voice so the other guys could be certain to hear him? All in all, it appears that he felt pretty sure of his love for Jesus. We know some of his character by what we read in Scripture. Not a shy guy, it seems. So, we wouldn’t be surprised to know that when he said those words, he may have spoken them with confidence… but with confidence in whom?
We know what happened next. Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Him. I can see Peter’s hurt/astonished countenance. “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” Sounds passionate. I can feel what Peter is saying. I can grab onto his emotion. I can even relate.
But here’s the thing: how did Peter later feel when he realized Jesus’ words came to fore and his words did not? “That” guy just changed. He was crushed by his selfishness. He was devastated by his own cowardice. He was broken in anguish. As he cried in penitence, did he think he’d ever hear His Lord’s voice again, speaking to him in the tones of love he had come to know?
Jump over to Mark 16:7. There is an angel sitting at the empty tomb. He says to the women, “go tell the disciples…and PETER.” Peter is specifically mentioned, singled out. When word got back to him, the truth of Who Jesus is must have conquered Peter’s fearful spirit. Acceptance, encouragement, and unconditional, true love, were wrapped up in those 2 words… “and Peter.” His now contrite heart experienced the assurance of Jesus’ forgiveness, friendship, hope, and TRUE LOVE. We see that as we then watch Peter…affectionate, loyal, bold, impulsive Peter…become the rock and shepherd that Jesus foretold him he would become.
Trust had been restored in the most important relationship Peter would ever have.
It’s the same most important relationship we will ever have. That same account is as true for us as it was for our brother, Peter. We can put our name in the place of the one that betrayed Him, yet fell on His mercy. No matter how far we’ve gone, how low we’ve sunk, to ever think we could be accepted again by our Creator, there is always room in His heart for love…true love.
What a God! What a Savior!
Carol Tirondola is on staff with the Partner Care team at America’s Keswick. She and her best friend, Mario, have been married for 35 years. They have 2 sons and 2 daughters-in-law that they call their “BFFs”. They also have 7 precious gems called grandchildren. Her family has savored many memories of the heart made at Keswick over the last 35+ years and she is thrilled to now be serving on staff!