Matthew 26:33 Peter said to (Jesus), “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.
I don’t doubt that Peter loved Jesus, and meant every word of his promise to have Jesus’ back no matter what. But if you know the rest of the story, you know things unfolded just as Jesus had predicted. Peter indeed denied Jesus three times, then the bible says that Peter “wept bitterly”.
Let’s be honest, most of us have probably been on both sides of this equation. We’ve abandoned/betrayed/failed persons very close to us, though it may not have been our intention to do so. But it happens because we’re human and we make mistakes. This week I’ve been reflecting on my own failures in this regard. What about you? Who are the people close to you whom you’ve let down over the years? Have you asked for their forgiveness? We can’t undo what we’ve already done, but we can own up to it and apologize.
We’ve also been among those betrayed by loved ones. If that’s you, Jesus has something to teach us in this regard as well. Though he was abandoned by Peter – and all of his closest disciples – Jesus did not give up on them or cut himself off from them. In fact, he went and found them after his resurrection. He forgave them and commissioned them to preach the gospel after he ascended to heaven to be with the Father. Question: Are there persons from whom you’ve been withholding forgiveness? Have you chosen to hold onto the offense, perhaps even use it as a weapon against the offending party when it suits you? This is not the way of Jesus or Jesus’ disciples. Jesus forgave you and me of all our sin that we might likewise forgive others. Let’s pray.
Jesus, thank you that you never give up on us, even when we fail miserably. We ask for grace to own up to our offenses and well as forgive those who sin against us. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.