Oh, The Deep, Deep, Love Of Jesus!
Read Luke Chapter 22
Lk 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with You to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know Me.”
More often than not, after we have experienced a failure in our morality, we wonder how or if our Lord could possibly accept us back into His good graces. Many times, I have wondered if God had once more ounce of forgiveness toward me left in Him. As we look at this passage, something wonderful pops off the page which answers that question and just blows our minds. Do you see it?
At this juncture in the relationship between Jesus and Peter, an important truth is revealed. Jesus knew exactly what Peter was going to do. He knew that Peter was going to commit an atrocious sin. He was going to deny Christ three times in front of mankind. As we think of our sin, we might say that our same-sex sins are worse than that, and I would be remiss to disagree. At the same time, however, we can also see that Peter’s denial of Christ was also pretty severe.
Consider then, how incredibly beautiful was Jesus’ attitude toward Peter in this exchange. Jesus could have grabbed Peter by the shoulders, shook him silly, and said, “Don’t you dare deny Me, Peter!” In effect, His reaction was simply, “Peter, I know what you are going to do.” That knowledge did not cause any consternation within the mind of Christ. He did not scold Peter, or shame him, or give him a one, two, three plan so that he could avoid sinning. I find that strange. I would think that Jesus would sit His disciples down and give them a book or two to read so that they would find it impossible to give in to temptation.
All this leads me to a great truth. Jesus knew every sin we would ever commit over the full course of our lifetimes. Despite that fact, He still loves us. He loved us knowing all that we would do, even before we were born. He loved us just before each incident and immediately afterward. If that doesn’t tell you how much God loves you, I wouldn’t know what else to say. How should we react to this knowledge?
1. We should be more grateful than ever before. Our love for Him should increase to the point where our desire to please Him is much more powerful than our desire to please the flesh.
2. We should never again agonize over the question of whether we are forgiven. We, just like Peter, were forgiven even before our failure; not because we don’t have to repent, but because Jesus knew we WOULD repent.
3. We should be ready to forgive our friends who make mistakes and who regret their failure. That same grace we have received must be freely given to others.
4. We must not, ever, use this truth as a license to sin! Because we know we will be forgiven does not give us permission to sin. If our minds start to think that way, we must reprehend ourselves, change our hearts, and repent over that kind of thought process.
Prayer: Oh Lord, how we have failed to understand Your love and compassion toward us! We also have not comprehended the depth of Your understanding of our weaknesses. You, O Lord, are more wonderful than we could ever hope for or imagine. Thank You, and give us more strength to resist temptation, so that our world can see how much You mean to us.