Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Psalm 51:12 (NASB)
Series Focus: “Along the Way”
Messed up? Made a poor decision? People chiming behind your back, “Told you so.” All of us have been there. The sunken heart, throat in the pit of our stomachs, cold sweat panic of realizing the mistake just made… And the sound of the rooster crow fills the heart-pounding, mind-spinning, anxiety-ridden moments that follow.
Is there any way out? Any escape? Will I get through this? How will I ever recover? What will life look like on the other side?
Yes, there is a way! There is One who is our Rescuer, Deliverer, and Restorer. He makes a way when there seems to be no way. He reaches out to us with compassion and offers mercy to us in our very present time of need. He knows we will fail, make poor choices, and mess up. Yet, He patiently waits for us to come to Him. An encounter with Jesus is all we need to begin our journey toward restoration.
All four Gospels tell of Peter disowning Jesus. Jesus foretold this would happen and Peter adamantly refuted that possibility. Yet, the scriptures confirm Peter did deny Jesus and recount his response to hearing the rooster call him out: he wept bitterly.
With a heart full of sorrow and repentance, Peter ran away. In the hours that followed, Jesus died. As far as Peter knew, he would never have a chance to tell Jesus how sorry he was for his words, his actions, his mistakes made in complete fear and confusion of the horrific moment.
Little did Peter know that three days later, Jesus would rise from the dead! Before Jesus ascended to Heaven, He purposefully encountered Peter to bring restoration to him. John 21:15-17 (NASB) records their conversation:
15 Now when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He said to him again, a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was hurt because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
Three times Peters denied knowing Jesus. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. Three times, Peter affirmed His love for Jesus. And three times, Jesus commissioned Peter to continue the work of the Gospel.
Did Peter mess up? Yes. Did that disqualify him from the compassion, love, and calling of the Lord? No. Peter repented with great sorrow, and Jesus forgave, restored, and continued to use Peter to love, teach, and care for others for the Kingdom of God.
Have you ever heard the proverbial rooster crow? Have you thought you were too far gone for the Lord to forgive you, restore you, and use you? Have you experienced the dizzying disaster of your wrong choices? One encounter with Jesus makes all the difference. It’s not too late. Seek Him and let the joy of His salvation be yours today.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Psalm 51:12; Matthew 26:33-35; Mark 14:29-31; Luke 22:33-34; John 18:15-27, 21:15-17