2010-03-16 - Bad Guys of Lent: Simon Peter
A lot of Christians, when asked, will name Simon Peter as their favorite Biblical character. I think it is probably because we identify with him so much. He was so very human, messing up, blurting things out when he shouldnt, not living up to his potential, letting down his Lord, like so:
Matthew 26:69-75 All this time, Peter was sitting out in the courtyard. One servant girl came up to him and said, "You were with Jesus the Galilean." 70 In front of everybody there, he denied it. "I don't know what you're talking about." 71 As he moved over toward the gate, someone else said to the people there, "This man was with Jesus the Nazarene." 72 Again he denied it, salting his denial with an oath: "I swear, I never laid eyes on the man." 73 Shortly after that, some bystanders approached Peter. "You've got to be one of them. Your accent gives you away." 74-75 Then he got really nervous and swore. "I don't know the man!" Just then a rooster crowed. Peter remembered what Jesus had said: "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." He went out and cried and cried and cried.
I like the way The Message puts this: He cried and cried and cried. He was remorseful; he realized what hed done, and he was genuinely sorry. Not sorry that he got caught; he was sorry for what he, Peter, had done. So Lesson #1 we can learn from Simon Peter is that if we really love the Lord, well be genuinely sorry for our sins. Sorry for the rupture they cause between us and Christ, or us and other people. Not just sorry for the troubles we bring upon ourselves.
But also, as the bumper sticker says, Gods not finished with me yet. And as the late veteran journalist Paul Harvey would say, here is the rest of the story:
Christ, his Lord, not only forgave him; he placed the humbled, repentant disciple in a position of leadership.* See John 21:15-19. Christ entrusted Peter with the most valuable posession of all, His flock. Take care of my sheep, were his commissioning words. Peter also went on to be a persuasive evangelist (see Acts 2-4 and Acts 11).
The rest of Peter's life wasn't an easy one; in fact, he spent some time in prison. And the conditions weren't as good as the ones we provide today, with climate control, atheltic equipment, libraries and the like. They were primitive. And of course, most of us wont turn out to be the next Billy Graham. But Peters story is a great reminder for us, that no matter how badly we mess up, no matter how low we sink, if we are truly repentant - and that means not only SAYING we are sorry but literally turning around our lives God can use even us.