So last week I was talking to my friend Sueyun about Peter from John 21 when Jesus reinstates Peter. And then last night we briefly talked about it at my church’s community group. And it has been on my mind all week so I thought I’d write about it and hopefully organize my thoughts a little bit more.
When Jesus told Peter that Peter would deny Jesus three times, Jesus could have forced Peter to stay with Jesus during that time or could have prevented Peter from denying him. But He didn’t, He told Peter and he allowed him to deny Him.
So when Jesus comes back to the disciples after resurrecting, could you even imagine Peter’s heart when he sees Jesus? How could He even look Jesus in the eyes again after doing something like that? He must have felt a lot of joy in seeing Jesus being resurrected, but more than that, could you imagine the shame, hurt and disappointment that he must have felt while being with Jesus?
And so when Jesus asks him, “Peter do you love me?” can you imagine how much shame Peter had to feel. But he’s able to say “yes Lord, you know how much I love you”. And Peter says that knowing that Jesus knows his heart- despite his fear, selfishness and his fleshly sinful nature that Peter indeed did love Jesus but had failed to choose Jesus in that specific instance.
Peter is just like any of us, we may not outwardly say that we deny Jesus, but we all know that we’ve denied Jesus many times, and maybe multiple times every single day. So many times when Jesus tells us to choose Him we decide to choose ourselves. We get scared, we get anxious and we decide to choose our own abilities and fail to look to God, fail to look to our Father that is the giver of all things. Even though Peter failed Jesus, Jesus then says that He will build his church upon Him. Like… WHAT?! How crazy does that sound. I’m sure Peter was feeling inadequate at this point. But what is so crazy is that Peter was BUILT on his failures. He was restored. He was made new. Isn’t that the most beautiful picture of grace? Not only did he fail and receive forgiveness, but Jesus to chose to build His church upon Him. Jesus CHOSE Peter.
If you think about it, we were all built on our failures. And that’s because our God is a God of grace. Adam and Eve first sinned in the garden of Eden which led to Jesus dying on the cross for us. Joseph was sold by his own brothers to slavery and that led to him becoming king of Egypt and saving all of Egypt from famine. My parents failed marriage that led to me moving to LA and even meeting Jesus.
Hurt people know what it means to have compassion and help others heal from their hurt. Very scary past experiences can become safe havens and homes for those that are currently hurting. It’s a beautiful cycle, and we have a beautiful God that brings all things together for His good.
and that's just it, God uses even our failures to bring glory to Himself.