ENCOUNTERS WITH JESUS

PETER

 

It was just a look. But the message it conveyed to Peter was penetrating, powerful and filled with promise.

It said to Peter 'Remember '

      • Remember what you really believe about me: that I am the Christ, the Son of the living God.
      • Remember your brash confidence - that you would never deny me, no matter what.
      • Remember, my understanding, my intimate knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses, my statement that you would in fact, deny me this very night.
      • Remember, also, my promise, that I would pray for you that your faith would not fail.
      • Remember my anticipation that you will turn back to me - that this failure, real though it is, is just your fear that floats on the surface of the deeper reality of your faith, faith that made you follow me here, when all the others ran away.
      • Remember my commission, that you, having turned back to me, will strengthen the others.

It was a look of immeasurable love, not of rejection. A look towards a future, not a termination. A look of hope, not of despair.

And Peter, overwhelmed by the power of that love, that understanding, that hope, went out and wept bitterly: grieved at his own weakness, his own duplicity; grieved that he by his words of denial had wounded his Master far more deeply than any of the false accusations of the unbelievers ever could.

The reality and depth of his real commitment to Jesus is measured by the bitterness of his tears.

Jesus knows our hearts. He recognizes genuine faith, even when it is temporarily hidden under a veneer of fear and doubt. Let us take courage from this encounter with Jesus, even when we are overwhelmed by the fragility of our commitment.

Scriptures: Luke 22:54-62; Matthew 16:16; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-34; John 2:23-25.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2004,2009