Peter, a Disciple of Jesus, has quite a story. He was a fisherman, known as Simon, and in Matthew 4:18-22 we read that Jesus called him to be a “fisher of men.” For the next 3+ years, Peter walked with Jesus and saw, as well as experienced, some great things. He was there when Jesus performed many miracles. He was with the other disciples in a boat, and they saw Jesus walking on water. At first, they thought it was a ghost, but Peter called out to Jesus and said that if it was Him, to tell him to walk out to meet Him. Jesus called him out of the boat, so Peter got out, and for a brief time walked on top of the water! Imagine living that life!
Peter was also the one that Jesus said would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed (Matt 26:34-35). Peter declared it would never happen, but in fact, it did happen (John 18:15 -18 and 25-27), and immediately the rooster crowed. Peter was there when Jesus was crucified, died and was carried away to the tomb.
How do you think Peter felt seeing his friend, the One he knew as the Messiah, the One who had performed great miracles, the One he spent day after day traveling with and learning from, go through what He went through and ultimately die? How do you think he felt knowing that when the pressure was on, he denied even knowing Jesus? I know how I would have felt. Absolutely terrible! I would have felt condemnation, stress, embarrassment, and more. How could I have turned my back on my friend? How could I ever deny knowing the One who impacted my life the way Jesus did? Why did I do that? Personally, I know there are days I feel bad over decisions I made 30 years ago, and I still fight to “put them behind me.”
Of course, we know that Jesus resurrected and spent another 40 days on the earth before ascending into heaven. During those 40 days, He appeared to over 500 people and confirmed to them that He had indeed risen, as He said He would. One of the encounters Jesus had with Peter is found in John 21:15-17. We read here that three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, and three times Peter confirmed his love for Jesus. The love and grace of Jesus restored Peter by asking him the same question three times (once for each time Peter denied Jesus), and in verse 19 Jesus tells Peter to “Follow Me.” Jesus showed Peter that His original call, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men,” was not aborted because Peter made a mistake. He was saying to Peter that the call of God is not placed on us because we are perfect but because we are chosen! In verses 20-22, Jesus is telling Peter that the call on his life was not connected to what John was called to do. Peter’s task was to simply follow Jesus and work on being the best that he could be, within that call. And Peter went on to accomplish great things for the Kingdom of God!
Too often, we allow our mistakes from the past (mistakes from yesterday, last year, or 30 years ago) to stop us from moving forward in what God has asked us to do. We feel like our mistakes disqualify us, and we allow that feeling of condemnation to derail the thing God wants to do in us and through us. We get excited about what God wants us to do, and then we make a mistake, feel terrible, and “leave the call.” Even Peter went back to being a fisherman (John 21:1-14) after he saw the resurrected Jesus. I can only imagine that Peter was still dealing with the condemnation.
Look, we all make mistakes, but the great thing about God is that He never sees a mistake and says “WOW…I didn’t see that coming!” Nope, God knew we would blow it before He called us, and He still called us. That means He has a plan! Don’t let your past take you off track. Experience the Love, Grace, and Mercy that Peter experienced from Jesus, and go change the world!
Pastors Kevin and Christy Messner, along with their two youngest children, moved to Mesa, Arizona on October 1, 2009. Within two weeks they began attending Living Word Bible Church, which quickly became “home.” Both accepted Christ in early 1993 and spent 16+ years in the same church in Minnesota. Hearing the true message of Grace at Living Word has been a life-changing experience for them and has caused tremendous growth in their personal and spiritual lives. They were ordained as Pastors at Living Word on March 18, 2018. Pastor Kevin is involved as a leader in the Team Teach program, is a facilitator in the Next Steps program, and teaches in Band of Brothers (Men’s Bible Study) and LIVE @ 5 on Sunday evenings. Pastor Christy teaches in the Children’s ministry, serves as a leader in Extraordinary Sisters (Women’s Bible Study), and assists with guest speakers. While we are all called to win the lost, Pastors Kevin and Christy feel a burden to “save the saved,” which they see as helping Christians grow in their walk with God and helping Living Word accomplish the vision of “Growing A Family That Experiences Every Promise of God.”