Here I Stand: Standing on Forgiveness
Kyle Johnson   -  

I find it easy to follow God…until I am tempted with one of my ‘pet’ sins.

I find it easy to follow God when everything is going according to plans if He is doing what I think a good God would do. I struggle more when He does something that I do not think a good God would do! When God does not do what I want him to do, I find doubts that form in my mind as the disappointment in him grows. If left unattended, I can even be tempted to distance myself from God with busyness and indifference.

Maybe that is what happened to the disciple Peter. Maybe he was just a little disillusioned with Jesus, just for a moment, in the face of incredible pressure. He boldly declared to Jesus in front of the rest of the disciples, “even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you” (Mark 14:31 NIV). How is it that just hours later he would do exactly the opposite?

Peter took his stand, he declared, “Here I Stand” …until he did not! I guess I know what it is like to have good intentions but then to have the follow through fall to pieces. It is easy to say that I am all for Jesus, where you go, I will follow; until we are hurt, or we become afraid, or feel insecure. Those things did a number on Peter. Peter had seen Jesus do miracles, raise people from the dead even, and then suddenly he was arrested and bound over for trial. It did not fit Peter’s picture; it was not in his plan.

In that moment of doubt, Peter distanced himself from the one he loved. He denied Jesus, not just once, but three times. It was heartbreaking for Peter. It was heartbreaking for Jesus, and it is heartbreaking for us. In that moment, Luke says that Jesus looked “straight” at Peter after his third denial. That is when Peter remembered what Jesus had said, that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed.

I do not think Jesus was attempting to shame Peter with that look, nor do I think he was conveying “I told you so.” I think his eyes were filled with compassion for Peter. The same compassion that Jesus has for you and for me when we fail. It is a reminder to him why he must go to the cross. While Peter goes out and weeps bitterly, he does so knowing that his sin, his redemption, his salvation, his forgiveness, is not beyond the reach of his Savior.

In your life and mine, Jesus’ forgiveness is there for us whenever we fail. Yet, he still loves us. Join us Sunday, as Jesus asks the question: “do you love me?”

-Pastor Ken