August 21, 2008

God of Second Chances

Luke 22:54-62

Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.
Luke 22:60


Peter loved Jesus passionately. Traditional stories from the early church say that he moved to Rome and recruited many followers for Jesus. In the end, Peter was probably tortured and murdered for this work. But years earlier, when Jesus was about to be tortured and killed, Peter's courage ran cold. Jesus had predicted it hours earlier. He'd said to Peter, also known as Simon, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed … that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers… I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me” (Luke 22:31-34). Even with that warning, Peter stumbled exactly as the Lord had predicted. Three times he denied that he had ever known Jesus. All of Peter's love for Jesus did not put the brakes on his fear or his drive for self-preservation. And as he heard the rooster crow, Peter ran off in shame and wept bitterly. Jesus knew that Peter would fail him, but Jesus also prayed that Peter's faith would not fail. Eventually, in God's strength, Peter broke through the shame and lived boldly for Jesus. In the same way, Jesus knows that we will fail him. But he also prays that our faith will not fail. Trust that prayer, and know the God of second chances.

Thank you, Giver of second chances, for your Son, Jesus, who makes our life new each day. Help us to trust that our faith will not fail, knowing that our Lord prays for us. Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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