A few billion Christians around the world will, in some form or another, recognize Easter Sunday in just a few days. This week leading up to Easter is commonly referred to as “Holy Week”, a time where believers remember the events leading up to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
During this time of year, in my own devotional time, I typically read passages of Scripture surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord. Yesterday, Matthew 26:75 kept ringing in my ears, “And Peter, remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, ‘before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times’. So he went out and wept bitterly.”
During Jesus’ darkest hour, His disciples all deserted Him. As the Roman soldiers came to arrest the Son of God, His closest friends fled out of fear for their lives. When Jesus predicted that this would happen, Peter—always the outspoken one—retorted, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble!” Jesus softly replied that before the rooster’s crow would usher in the dawn of a new day, Peter would deny Him three times.
It’s easy to look down on Peter and the other disciples for their decision that night. They had seen the supernatural power of the Son of God consistently for three years. They ate with Jesus and traveled with Him. They’d seen Jesus heal people, cast out demons, and even raise the dead. They’d watched in disbelief as He multiplied loaves and fishes, as He turned water into wine and as He walked on water. It seems hard to believe given the irrefutable evidence of His deity and divinity that they would have disbanded so quickly.
But then I think about my own life. I’ve seen His power and tasted His goodness. I’m living, walking proof of His faithfulness and kindness. And yet we commemorate Good Friday tomorrow, I’m so keenly aware of my sin that put Him on the cross. I think of all the times I’ve denied Him…
I’ve denied Jesus through my failure to witness for Him.
I’ve denied Jesus by intentionally choosing to disobey His Word.
I’ve denied Him by choosing not to forgive.
I’ve denied Him by wrong priorities.
I’ve denied Him in a thousand other ways.
I’m so thankful that Jesus didn’t give up on Peter because it reminds me He doesn’t give up on me. After Jesus rose from the dead, the angel at the tomb told the women who had come to bring spices to anoint His body, “do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you” (Mark 16:6-7). I love that! The angel specifically singled Peter out. Even after his failure, God was faithful! His failure didn’t destroy his future! The Apostle Peter went on to boldly preach the Gospel and spread the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth. In fact, according to church history he was martyred for the cause of Christ later in his life.
We serve a God of redemption and restoration! The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event in history. Because of the sacrifice on the cross and the glory of the empty tomb, anyone and everyone who places faith in Jesus Christ can be forgiven of sin and welcomed into the family of God for eternity. “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15). Happy Easter!