27 “You will all turn away,” Jesus told the disciples. “It is written, “ ‘I will strike the shepherd down. Then the sheep will be scattered.’ (Zechariah 13:7) 28 But after I rise from the dead, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 29 Peter said, “All the others may turn away. But I will not.” 30 “What I’m about to tell you is true,” Jesus answered. “It will happen today, in fact tonight. Before the rooster crows twice, you yourself will say three times that you don’t know me.” 31 But Peter would not give in. He said, “I may have to die with you. But I will never say I don’t know you.” And all the others said the same thing.
Every time I read this passage, my heart just goes out to Peter. He is so sure of himself, so certain that he will stand by Jesus even when all others fall away. Of course, as we find out when we read further, Peter did indeed deny & disown Jesus – three times in fact. It’s easy to read this passage and think of how naive Peter was, or to perhaps see him as weak & cowardly – denying that he ever knew Jesus in order to save his own skin. But I (sadly & certainly without any pride) can see elements of Peter in my own life. Situations or circumstances when I have held back from talking about what I believe or withholding an opinion in order not to be judged by others who may not like my Christian perspective.
I’m thankful for the relatable character of Peter in the Bible, and even more grateful for the grace that Jesus showed him, even after Peter turned his back on him, in not only forgiving Peter, but bestowing responsibility on him to build & lead the early church. To me this is a great reminder that Jesus really is a redeemer – he takes our mistakes and our mess & turns them around when we confess them to him.
God, thank you for your unrelenting grace, and your consistent love for us – even in our most unlovable moments. Thank you that you choose to forgive us even when we let you down & turn away from you. Help us to have hearts that are focused on who you are and what you call us to, and give us the courage we need to make choices that honour you. Amen.
Written by Ps. Madelaine Tarasenko