This is the time of year where we hear a certain story. I’m not talking about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, His crucifixion, or His resurrection. Those would be too easy. Rather, I am talking about Peter’s denial of Christ. It is a common story to talk about and think about. And…in the midst of doing so…you will probably hear Peter being criticized for his actions. But…my reading for today got me thinking:
Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I’ll give up my life for you.” Jesus replied, “Will you give up your life for me? I assure you that you will deny me three times before the rooster crows.
It must have been an embarrassing moment for Peter. To be called out like that is never fun…especially in front of all your friends. And…it must have been even worse when Peter lived into Jesus’ prediction. But what captures my attention is not that Peter failed or the fact that Jesus knew he would. What captures my attention is the fact that Jesus knew what Peter would do…and it was okay.
Don’t get me wrong. It is never a good idea to deny Jesus. However, in the midst of this story, Jesus never kicks Peter to the curb. He never treats Him any differently. He does not expect Peter to be anyone other than who Peter was. Remember…this is the dude that Jesus called “Rock” and established as, at the very least, one of the inner 3. Peter wasn’t just some random dude. No, Peter was an intimate friend of Jesus and he is about to fail Jesus severely. But…again…it seems okay.
I realize as I look at this story, that it is okay because of what has not yet happened. It is okay because at this point Peter doesn’t really get the fullness of who Jesus is. It is okay because in a very short amount of time Jesus would die on a cross for people just like Peter. And…it is okay…because in a few days, Jesus would rise from the dead and overcome the death that is the result of our sins.
I often wonder if I am like Peter. The answer is almost always a “yes”. I fail Jesus…and so do you. We make mistakes, we sin against our Savior, and we fail to be the people that God created us to be. But, because of what was about to happen for Peter…and what we will celebrate this weekend…it’s okay.
There is a strange truth this time of year. You are a failure and that’s okay……because Jesus Christ has died and rose again so that you can be forgiven.