You wouldn’t give a huge responsibility to a person who failed you, would you? If you are a boss, would you promote the man that sells the least number of cars in your showroom? If you are a father, would you entrust your son with your house knowing that he had previously lit it on fire? It doesn’t make sense, but Jesus did something just like that. The night before He was arrested, Jesus saw the zeal in Simon Peter’s eyes. He saw his love and dedication, but He also foresaw the mistake Peter was going to commit hours later. So Jesus prepared him in advance saying, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22: 31,32).
Here’s what I understand from this: 1)Jesus knew that Peter was going to mess up and disown Him. 2)Jesus still gave Peter a huge responsibility (strengthening the other disciples, who were NOT going to disown Jesus).
Peter’s mistake was BIG: denying his Teacher three times, after three years of fellowship and friendship. How do you heal from that? How do you make up for it? How would you forgive yourself if you were in Peter’s shoes? On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that Jesus was hurt by that denial. Luke 22:61, even notes that once the cock crowed, Jesus turned and made eye-contact with Peter. What a dramatic scene! That moment “the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: ‘Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me’ “. However, Jesus didn’t focus on that failure. He knew it was going to be terrible, and He was so sweet to prepare Peter for it. But it’s as if He wanted to teach His follower and friend, ‘I will NOT be disappointed in you because of your failure. I will STILL see the same person in you, a leader’. As you read the gospels (Jesus’ story), you’ll notice that Peter along with two other disciples (John and James) used to go on special trips with Jesus. It seems that He saw leadership qualities in them and was cultivating those gifts. He saw a leader in Peter. You would think that Jesus would lose confidence in His trainee after that fateful night, surprisingly He didn’t!
Jesus knows your mistakes and mine .. so very well. He knows about the relationship you shouldn’t have nurtured for so long, the words you shouldn’t have said. He knows about all your bad decisions, and your moments of weakness. Nevertheless, because of who He is, He can look you in the eye right now and remind you that He sees a leader in you. He cannot possibly be disappointed in you, because unlike people He sees what comes after the failure. He sees a great comeback. And says, ‘I am ready to give you the greatest responsibility you’ve ever had right after you rise up from the ashes’. So you mourn, grieve, and do whatever you need to do… but not for long. Don’t dwell there. He’s already seen the whole scenario through, and He’s already forgiven the past. You are still as precious to Him as the day you were born. Rise up and get ready for your biggest mission yet.
For more on love and relationships, check out Your Love is Better than Wine: Letters to Mr. Right by Michal Haddad
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