Have you ever sinned really bad?
Does that seem like a weird question? Sin is sin, right?
Yes, AND we all have sins that we think are worse than others.
What is your worst sin? The one you don’t want anyone to know. The one you repeat in your head. The one you carry the most shame about.
Maybe it was just after you had chosen to follow Jesus. Maybe you had walked with the Lord for a long time and had a great “track record” of faithfulness, “making good choices” and practicing strong leadership. If that is true of you, you are in good company. Peter was a zealot!
Peter was all in with Jesus from the very beginning. Matthew 4 tells us, Jesus says, “Come follow me” to Peter and his brother Andrew, and at once they left their nets at the Sea of Galilee and followed Jesus.
In Matthew 17 when Jesus is transfigured, Peter wants to build three tabernacles RIGHT THERE!
In John 18, when the soldiers come for Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, Peter cuts off a soldier’s ear!
In Luke 22 when Jesus tells Peter, “Satan has demanded to sift you like wheat,” Peter responds, “I am ready to go to prison or to death!”
Y’all! He is all in!! But within hours of his commitment to go to prison or death for Jesus, he denies Christ three times.
Oh the grief!
Have you been there? Have you been the zealot and then the failure?
I was entrusted with a precious mission. God called me to run a business, but for a multitude of reasons we closed last August. It was the hardest season of my life. Shame and darkness were my constant companions. I could not bear the heaviness of it all.
One day I was reading in John 21 and saw myself in Peter’s story of being forgiven, reinstated and sent!
A man is standing on the shore as Peter and some of the other disciples are fishing in the Sea of Galilee. When Peter realizes that it is Jesus, he JUMPS out of the boat, working to get to him as quickly as he can. Jesus makes them breakfast before he turns to Peter and asks: Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?
Peter: Yes, Lord You know that I love you.
Jesus: Tend My Lambs
Jesus: Simon, son of John, do you love me?
Peter: Yes, you know that I love you.
Jesus: Shepherd My Sheep.
Jesus: Simon, Son of John, do you love me?
Peter was grieved because Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?”
Peter: Lord you know all things; You know that I love You.
Jesus: Tend My sheep.
Jesus tells Peter a few other things and then says, “Follow Me.”
These are the same words Jesus spoke when He first called Peter.
Peter is still called! Peter is still chosen! Peter is still loved!
Jesus is not ashamed of Peter. He doesn’t kick him off his team; He doesn’t even demote him.
It was this story that helped me accept my own failures and disappointment. There is nothing I can do that disqualifies me from walking with Jesus and doing anything He calls me to do.
I am still called. I am still chosen. I am still loved!
Friend, have you done something that you think disqualifies you? Are you imagining you are not acceptable to Jesus?
You are wrong. You are still called, still chosen and still loved. And LOOK who Peter becomes! There is so much more that Jesus is calling you to do.