TO CHEW ON:“So Peter went out and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:62
Jesus had recently predicted Peter would deny Him. At the time Peter protested, “Lord, I am ready to go with you, both to prison and to death.” Now, hours later, a mere servant woman and a couple of men, identifying Peter as a Jesus-follower elicited three vehement betrayals: “I do not know Him… I am not (one of them)… I don’t know what you’re talking about (in response to “…this fellow was with Him” - Luke 22:57, 58, 60.
The rooster crow was the ping – that and Jesus’ long, knowing look. They reminded Peter of their conversation – and he was filled with remorse: “The keen or hopeless anguish aroused by a sense of guilt; distressing self-reproach.”
Have you been there? I know I have – full of sorry, gripped with guilt, wondering why I let that person down, was silent and failed to clearly state my loyalty to Jesus, again neglected to live up to my ideals.
I guess the issue is not whether or not we’ve done something to make us remorseful, but the effect we allow it to have on our lives. In Peter’s case, when Jesus took him back to that day in a pointed conversation (though He never made a direct reference to Peter’s betrayal - John 21:15-19), it was an acknowledgement that the betrayal was indeed real and significant. Peter needed to say the words, “I love you.” Jesus’ acceptance of Peter’s profession made things right between them and allowed Peter to forgive himself. Then Jesus restored him to even greater responsibility.
Jesus gave Peter a glimpse of who he really was by allowing this remorseful situation, and He does that for us too. When we let Him (and ourselves) down, we see how easily we can blow it. But when we return to Him, and acknowledge our betrayal, He is there to restore us (1 John 1:9), though now way less confident in ourselves, more needy of Him, like He restored Peter.
PRAYER: Dear God, help me to have a realistic view of my weaknesses. May my remorse teach me to draw on Your strength, and be less confident of mine. Amen.
MORE: Good Friday
Today is the day we remember Jesus' death on the cross for us. We call it "Good Friday." The Good Friday liturgy begins with this collect:
"Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.