Tag Archives: Peter

Appearing to Boost Our Confidence

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“I’m going fishing,” Peter called out as the disciples were gathered. Six others joined him, and the seven men headed out to the water. For the past three years, these men have been following Jesus, but now, they are not going to see him on a regular basis. They may be a little disoriented as they wonder what to do, so they return to what they know:  fishing. After all, it was their livelihood prior to Jesus calling them, and they are professional fishermen.

The team of seven spend all night casting nets, but no fish. Spending all night on the water with empty nets was rare, but this was one of those nights. John 21 says, “At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they replied. Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So, they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore.” 

Peter discovers Jesus is the one standing on the shore, and he immediately heads ashore. Peter could have taken the time to pull in the nets and ride the boat to shore, but he’s in too big of a hurry. Peter’s need to get to Jesus compels him to jump in the water. Understanding why Peter was in such a hurry requires us to rewind through time.

Sometime earlier, Jesus said Peter would deny knowing him. The pressure would become so intense Peter would deny Jesus not one time, but three times. Peter is hurt by this statement, and he boldly proclaims it would never happen.

Some time later as Jesus is standing trial, the pressure mounts and Peter crumbles. He is asked if he is following Jesus, and Peter says, “No.” This happens three times, then a rooster crows and Jesus’ words hauntingly echo through Peter’s mind.

In this moment, Peter knows he has failed. The very denial Peter boldly proclaimed would never happen took place. Peter never thought he’d make that mistake. He never thought things would get that far out of hand, but they did. Peter could try to make excuses. He could try to explain the failure away, but reality is he fell short. He failed.

Perhaps this sounds familiar. We all fail. We all make mistakes, and there will always be moments in time we would re-do if possible. Mistakes and failures come in all shapes and sizes. Our stories may be different, but we can relate to the guilt Peter must have felt. This is why he was in such a hurry to get to Jesus.

Usually someone in Peter’s situation instinctively tries to avoid the hurt person. No one likes an awkward interaction or facing failures and mistakes from the past. But this isn’t the way Peter responds. The minute he realizes Jesus is on the shore, he jumps in the water and heads inland because he is confident.

This is not a confidence in himself, but a confidence in his Lord Jesus Christ. Peter is so confident in the Lord’s mercy and grace that he runs straight to Jesus. Scripture tells us we can share in Peter’s confidence.

  • 1 John 1:9 says, “…if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
  • Speaking of the Lord, David writes in Psalm 103, “He has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.”

Peter’s confidence proves right. John 21 goes on to tell us Jesus boldly and gently reinstated Peter. We know Peter went on to be used by the Lord in a mighty way. Peter took his failures and mistakes to Jesus, and the Lord lavished grace upon him.

Because of an empty tomb, you and I can take our mistakes and failures to the Lord confidently knowing he will lavish mercy and grace upon us. We can follow Peter’s lead and go straight to Jesus in these moments. It is by grace we have been saved, and this not of ourselves, but it is the gift of God through Christ Jesus.

Back on Track

The 3 Rs put Peter back on track.

The week had been action packed. Peter and the other disciples watched Jesus enter Jerusalem to cheering crowds. They witnessed a temple cleansing and a fig tree withering. Passover was being celebrated and it was only midweek. Peter and his companions still had much to witness.

As they are having the Passover meal, Jesus delivered shocking news to Peter. Jesus told the disciples before the night ended; they would all desert him.

“Peter declared, ‘Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.’ Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth. Peter, this very night before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.’ ‘No,’ Peter insisted, ‘even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you,’ and all the other disciples vowed the same,” records Matthew 26:33-35.

Peter didn’t understand the intensity of pressure was ramping up, and under pressure, he would live out the words Jesus said.

Luke 22 records, “So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home, and Peter followed at a distance. The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sit around it, and Peter joined them there. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally, she said, ‘This man was one of Jesus’ followers.’ But Peter denied it. ‘Woman,’ he said, ‘I don’t even know him.’

After a while, someone else looked at him and said, ‘You must be one of them.’ ‘No, man, I’m not,’ Peter retorted.

About an hour later, someone insisted, ‘This must be one of them because he is a Galilean too.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ and immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.

At that moment, the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind, ‘Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.’ And, Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.”

Have you ever had this moment? You realize a mistake has been made, and now it is time to fix it. We find in Peter’s story a pattern to follow.

Remember

As Jesus looked at Peter, Luke says Jesus’ words came back to Peter. Suddenly, he remembered the earlier conversation. He remembered his own words. He remembered Jesus’ words, and he realized he was in error.

When we are in error, our memory triggers our conscience. We remember the conversation, the words, the Lord. Suddenly, we are struck with the reality of a mistake. We remember, and what we do in this moment is up to us.

Repent

Peter left the courtyard weeping bitterly, and we know from the Gospel writers Peter repented. His sorrow turned him from the direction he was going back in the direction of the Lord. Peter allowed his sorrow to put him back on track with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow, but worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.”

We too can allow our sorrow to turn us in the direction of the Lord. This is not a sorrow we got caught in an error, but a sorrow that drives us to make things right. It creates action, alarm, and zeal in us to do the next right thing. How you and I handle sorrow in an error is up to us.

Reconcile

Peter remembered, he repented, and he was reconciled.

In one of his post-resurrection appearances, Jesus has an honest conversation with Peter.

“After breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ Peter replied, ‘You know I love you.’

‘Then feed my lambs,’ Jesus told him.

Jesus repeated the question, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ Peter said, ‘you know I love you.’

“Then take care of my sheep,’ Jesus said.

A third time he asked him, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, ‘Lord you know everything. You know that I love you.’

Jesus said, ‘Then feed my sheep.”

When you and I turn in the direction of the Lord, he will reconcile with us. He will not leave us but run to us. Jesus’ work on the cross made it possible to reconcile with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

Acting

It is not that we make mistakes but how we handle the mistakes that makes the difference. Peter gives us a pattern to get on track, but how we handle things is up to us. How are you handling mistakes?

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Recalculating

Recalculating is a word many of us hear as we use Google Maps, Apple Maps, or any of the GPS guidance products. We miss a turn so the app must find a new way to our destination. Missing a turn doesn’t result in being lost forever; it just means it may take a little longer to get there and it may be a little harder route.

Grace can work the same way. It can recalculate the direction our life is going. If you do not like the direction your life is going, the Lord’s grace can recalculate you to a path of hope and peace. Many people have allowed grace to change the direction they were headed.

Grace has recalculated many lives.

Here are some examples of recalculated lives.

Peter

We don’t have to look far past Jesus to see one such story. Peter was called to be one of Jesus’ disciples. He has a reputation for being spontaneous and sticking his foot in his mouth. He denied knowing Jesus three times on the night Jesus was betrayed. John tells us Jesus visited one-on-one with Peter after his resurrection, and Peter was forgiven of his mistake.

Peter was going in the right direction until he made a wrong turn, but he was not lost forever. The Lord’s grace allowed Peter to recalculate his direction, and he became instrumental in spreading the Good News.

Paul

Paul is an example of grace changing a person’s life. He spent time persecuting, even killing, Christians. In his resume of sins, Paul calls himself the chief sinner. However, in Acts 9, the Lord uses grace to recalculate Paul’s life. Paul was appointed as an Apostle and became influential in the growth of the church. It has been said Paul had to be blinded in order to see the light.

Two Anonymous Ladies

A couple of unnamed women serve as examples of life-changing grace. First, Luke 7 records Jesus having dinner at a Pharisee’s house when a woman from that town began anointing Jesus. She was so grateful for his grace she could not contain her emotions. She wept on his feet, then dried them with her hair. All we know is that she lived a sinful life. To what extent of sinfulness, we are not told. She may have made a few mistakes, or she may have been a seasoned prostitute. Either way, she was forgiven, and her life was changed.

Second, John 8 tells of a woman supposedly caught in adultery. Adultery was punishable by stoning; however, Jesus gives a classic answer, “The one without sin can throw the first stone.” The crowd slowly leaves until only the woman and Jesus are remaining. Jesus grants her grace and sends her on her way to live a new life. Scripture speaks of many lives being changed because of grace, and we find the same to be true in more recent history.

John Newton

Perhaps one of the most famous illustrations of a life being recalculated by grace is that of John Newton. Newton is the writer of Amazing Grace.

After becoming established as a seaman, Newton entered the slave trade. He made many voyages with people as his cargo. Somewhere along the way, he heard of Christ and His offer of forgiveness. He became a Christian, but it took ten years for him to completely realize the horridness of human trafficking. We like to think his transformation happened overnight, but it took a few years for the Lord to form Newton’s heart. Keep in mind Christians in Newton’s day did not believe there was anything wrong with slavery. The Lord changed John Newton’s heart, his life, and used him to pin a familiar hymn.

Recalculating can take time.

Like Newton, it may take you and me a little time to get back on track. We start going in the right direction only to make another wrong turn. It happens, so don’t give up. Grace will recalculate your life once more.

It doesn’t matter how many wrong turns we’ve taken. What matters is going in the right direction now. The wrong turns are in the past, and we must leave them there. Our attention needs to be given to following the right directions when we are on the right path.

Acting

Remember to allow grace to change your direction the next time you make a wrong turn.