March 16, 2014

Responding to the Lord's Look

Luke 22:56-62; John 21:15-17

The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter re-membered the word the Lord had spoken to him… . And he went outside and wept bitterly.
—Luke 22:61-62


Two captivating stories are happening at the same time. Inside the high priest’s court Jesus reveals his true identity as the Messiah. Outside near the fire in the courtyard Peter denies his Lord three times. Then the climax brings the two story lines together. Jesus’ look at Peter changes everything.

Peter had surrendered to the paralyzing fear of standing alone. But fortunately Jesus enabled Peter to break out of the cage of conformity. The rooster’s crow activated the alarm of Peter’s conscience. Immediately he repented. In extreme sorrow, Peter wept bitterly. Later he reaffirmed his love for Jesus and was recommissioned as the Lord’s representative.

In John 21 we find that Jesus refused to let Peter cover up his unresolved past. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved his Lord. And Peter asserted repeatedly, “Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus then empowered Peter to put his past behind him and walk confidently into the future.

Jesus’ aim is to rehabilitate us whenever we fall from grace. And our conscience can halt us before we yield to temptation. But even if we slip into sin, God wants to restore us. For us this means responding to the alarm of our conscience, removing ourselves from the place of temptation, repenting of our sin, and reaffirming our loyalty to Jesus Christ.

Lord, we know that your convicting look is filled with con-vincing grace. Thank you for your transforming power! Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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