After Jesus does the impossible, raises from the dead, appears to hundreds, demonstrates how our spiritual body will work and what it looks like, giving us a glimpse of heaven right there, he appears to the disciples again. He goes back to the place where they met.....The Sea of Galilee, and what he does there is not only very personal to Peter, but it resonates with us all. All of us, no matter how hard we try, all of us have denied Jesus, all of us have been afraid to take our next step, all of us have heard what Jesus has said, but have difficulty living it. And so Jesus comes and He offers us what we are so hesitant at times to off others. He grants us forgiveness, a 2nd chance, a new beginning. From His encounter with Peter, let's take away these three truths and apply them to our life.
First, Accept His Forgiveness. God meets us right where we are.
Maybe you saw the story on national news a few years ago of Ted Williams and his Golden voice. 53 year old Ted Williams, father of 7, stood along a busy highway in Columbus Ohio holding a cardboard sign that read “I have a God given gift of Voice; I’m an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times. Please! Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you and God bless you…..
Thanks to someone who passed by, posted a Video of Ted Williams on You Tube, after being homeless since the early 90’s, He has been given multiple job offers, a place to live, and international recognition. But above all of these things, I believe Ted Williams has been given a 2nd chance to engage God’s purpose and plan for Ted Williams.
During his interview with Matt Lour, Ted Williams talked about his life up until this point. A life once very successful by his own terms as a radio voice, but a life filled with drug abuse, alcoholism, counterfeit versions, which led to separation from his family, run ins with the law, eventually leaving him homeless with only a glimpse of what he once was..
Lour asked him – “what makes you think you can make it back, what makes you think you can stay sober and engage this second chance you’ve been given?” And Ted Williams response was: “This time I am acknowledging God.. I realize that I must yield the control and focus of my life to a God of my understanding…..”
Peter who had denied knowing Jesus, then saw Him crucified on the cross, met Him after his resurrection, had returned to the place where it all started and it was there Jesus calls him out of the boat He was in and engaged Him on a personal level. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation, the old has gone, the new has come. All of this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ …..” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18a)(NIV)
Second, We need to Recognize His Love for us.
While Peter was standing in outside the court of Pilot denying that he knew Jesus, Jesus was inside taking the heat. Romans 5:8 says “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” As Peter and Jesus now walk along the bank of the sea, Jesus askes Peter “Do you love me?” Not once, but three times. The same number of times Peter denied knowing Him. Isn’t this when we recognize true love in our lives? When faced with the reality that we have done nothing to deserve it, yet it is freely given to us. It propels us to not only love differently ourselves, but to accept the forgiveness that is offered to us by those who truly love us.
Peter and Jesus had spoken of this type of forgiveness early in their relationship. Peter had asked Jesus back in Matthew 6, “How many times should I forgive someone?” Peter now understood a little better his own need for forgiveness and how offering forgiveness not only sets the other person free, but frees us.
Which is number three: Live Forgiven. Jesus final question to Peter; “Peter, do you love me more than these?” It wasn’t a comparison of Peter’s love and the other disciples love for Jesus. It was a question that all of us need to ask when we have walked away from Jesus and come home. Will we live powered by His forgiveness and love or will we be held back by guilt, Satan’s accusations, the past…… Jesus is saying, “The new has come Peter, today is a new day…. Let’s move forward, feed my sheep.”
Jesus Christ has called us all to a new beginning in Him. It’s what He came for – to restore us to our original shape and position with God. Let the new come in as you take your next step in Christ’s plan and purpose for your life.
I would love to see you this weekend at MCC as our Associate Minister unpacks this truth at 5:30pm Saturday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday.