It’s only after we’ve been forgiven for something major that we are able to value forgiveness for what it really is.
Peter turned his back on the Christ and lied about even knowing Him — three times in one night. That’s serious.
There could have been —humanly speaking should have been— lasting consequences. Wrath. Revenge. And end to friendship. Retribution. Had Peter been “made to pay” by enduring any of these he’d have had but one word he could say: Guilty.
But Jesus forgave Him.
Seven weeks from the moment Peter went over the handlebars in the dark and collapsed in defeat, Peter was the one selected to be the lead-off preacher to the crowds at Pentecost -in Jerusalem- the very city where he fell!
He preached in his native tongue with the same accent that got him recognized that fateful night, people heard his sermon in their own languages, and get this – three thousand (Count ’em!) came to Christ that day!
Friend, if you’ve ever wondered if God holds a grudge, note that!
Jesus forgave him. God fortified and taught him. And when He knew Peter was ready, sent him back into the game – a starter – and the Spirit used him powerfully!
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It’s your turn now. Think of the worst thing you’ve ever done. Your biggest offence (take a lap through Exodus 20 if you need some suggestions as to what to look for).
Have it in mind? Humbling isn’t it? If you’ve placed your trust in Christ Jesus, He’s forgiven you for it. Whether that wrong occured a long time ago, or just the other day isn’t the question. Jesus took that wrong -that sin- to the cross with Him. He became sin – for us. Your debt was paid –in full– on that cross.
Jesus paid it. ALL of it. No exception clauses, no conditions. Your wrongs. My wrongs. He paid the penalty for every last one of them, all at once, once for all.
Is this new to you? Need to know more? Click [here] – you can come back later, it’s that important.
What Does Forgiveness Do?
I’ve thought a lot about it. I’m living forgiven, I hope you are too. Here’s some of what forgiveness does. These get personal but that’s OK, so does forgiveness. Maybe you can relate.
(Please read these slowly. Written in the style of “Shame: Peter’s and Ours”, each is intended to make you stop and think. Forgiveness is stronger than shame. Let each of these soak in one at a time before you move to the next. I looked for ways to slow your reading down, but couldn’t think of one – so you’re on your honor, I guess.)
- Forgiveness spells grace with eleven letters instead of five.
- Forgiveness gives you the courage to step out onto the porch again and walk all the way to the curb.
- Forgiveness lets you stay in the aisle you’re in when you see someone you know at the store.
- Forgiveness finds that spark of a dream -a glimmer of vision- and blows on it. Gently. So it glows brighter. Catches fire again. Smiles when it starts to spread.
- Forgiveness calms you. Lets you close your eyes at night, unafraid of what people are thinking or saying about you these days.
- Forgiveness places its hand in the small of your back and whispers “Stand tall, Child, everything’s taken care of.”
- Forgiveness motions for you to take your place in the starting blocks again and come out strong. It holds its breath for you through “Come to your mark!” and “Set!” It hopes you win this time – pulling away.
- Forgiveness infuses you with renewed energy; energy that matches the peace that also surpasses your understanding.
- Forgiveness gives your song back, leans against the doorpost and smiles at you. “Sing it again.”
- Forgiveness walks with you — everywhere. When accusers look your way forgiveness points toward Jesus who lifts the yellow legal pad filled with everything you’ve ever done wrong, “Paid in Full” written across it – in His blood. And then He shreds it.
- Forgiveness says “Stay alert to your next opportunity to bless somebody. You’re qualified.”
- Forgiveness reminds you you’re a child of the King. Your record is clean. You — are loved.
- Forgiveness is quick to remind you when it’s somebody else that’s blown it this time, “Remember what you’ve been forgiven for; and offer it freely. Oh, and don’t be stingy. God isn’t!”
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In This Series:
- St Peter and Holy Week – Intro
- Peter, Self-Reliance and Overconfidence
- Peter’s Collapse
- Peter’s Shame
- Peter’s Relief
- Peter’s Resolve
- Peter’s Forgiveness
- Peter – The Tender and Understanding (forthcoming)