The faux pas of the apostle Peter were legendary. In the Gospels, more ink is given to Simon Peter and what he said than to any other apostle. Do you know why that is? Peter was always talking.
Do you know someone (or maybe you are that someone) who has to offer an opinion on everything, even when they are not asked? That was Peter. He always had something to say, providing running commentary. People always knew where they stood with Peter.
One of those epic Peter moments is when Jesus took Peter, James and John aside to a secluded mountainside. The three disciples fell asleep. Meanwhile, Jesus was transfigured, meaning that he was shining like the sun. Peter woke up and saw Jesus, and along with him were Elijah, the great miracle-working prophet, and Moses, the great lawgiver. If ever there was a time to simply take it in, that was it. But Peter felt it would be a good time to say something. So he said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Mark 9:5 NKJV).
I wonder if Moses turned to Jesus and said, “Is he with you?”
That was Peter. He would just blurt things out.
On another occasion Jesus told the disciples that he would suffer, die and rise again on the third day. But Peter took Jesus aside and said, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Matthew 16:22 NKJV)
Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (verse 23 NKJV). Jesus said this because the reason he came to this earth was to die on the cross.
Then there was the time when Jesus was walking on the water. And who asked if he could walk on the water with Jesus? Peter, of course – and no one else but Peter. That was Peter. He was nonstop entertainment. But I want you to know something: Jesus absolutely loved Simon Peter. And even saints can slip up.
On the night Jesus and the disciples were gathered in the Upper Room, Jesus dropped the bombshell that one of them would betray him. Peter saw this as a great opportunity to boast of his great love for Christ. He said, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered'” (Mark 14:27 NKJV).
Peter said, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be” (verse 29 NKJV).
But Jesus told him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times” (verse 30 NKJV).
Peter said there was no way that would ever happen. But it was going to happen, and Peter was about to learn that pride goes before a fall.
Soon after, Jesus was arrested and taken to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest. Outside was a courtyard where a fire was going. Peter, who had followed at a distance, stood there with some others, warming himself. But then someone recognized him as one of Jesus’ disciples.
If I were Peter, the first thing I would have asked is, “Are there any roosters around here?” But Peter denied knowing Jesus. Then a rooster crowed. Peter could have left at that point. But another hour passed, and again someone insisted that Peter had been with Jesus. Peter denied knowing him a second time, and the rooster crowed again.
Then Peter denied Jesus a third time, taking an oath and saying, in effect, “I swear to God I never knew Jesus.” At that moment, the Bible tells us that Christ was led out of the house of Caiaphas and made momentary eye contact with Simon Peter in the glow of the fire.
What kind of expression do you think Jesus had when he looked at Peter at that moment? I think Jesus looked at Peter with love and compassion. He knew it was coming. He had predicted it.
But Peter was devastated, and he went out and began to weep bitterly because he had failed the Lord. Then Christ was taken to the cross. His body was so traumatized, and he was so beaten and bloodied and marred that he wasn’t even recognizable as a man. Clearly he would never live again. Clearly, he would never walk again, never breathe again. That would have been true under normal circumstances. But this wasn’t just any man. This was the God-man hanging there on the cross, dying for the sin of the world.
Then, just as he said he would, Jesus rose from the dead. Mary Magdalene was the first to arrive at the empty tomb, where an angel said to her, “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 NKJV).
Notice the angel said, “Go, tell His disciples – and Peter.” Why was Peter singled out? Answer: because Peter needed a special word of encouragement. Maybe you need that today as well. Maybe you’ve fallen short. You didn’t plan on it, but it happened. Like Peter in the high priest’s courtyard, you’ve been hanging out with the wrong people at the wrong places, which resulted in your doing the wrong thing.
The Lord knew Peter would fail, so he was giving him another chance. And Jesus not only forgave Peter, but he also recommissioned him for service again.
God will do the same for you. He gives second chances. He will forgive you, and you can start a new relationship with him.