“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.“
I believe that we all know the biblical account where Peter denied the Lord Jesus in the beginning of the time where he was to be crucified. Peter was told that he would deny Jesus 3 times after he had told Jesus that he would die for Him. Peter was then humbled by a rooster’s crowing and left that place in shame and found himself weeping outdoors, alone and with the knowledge of knowing that everyone, including God knew of his failure! Was that the end? NO! There were more chapters to be written after that scene!
Peter had to clean off the dust before we would project a clean and polished testimony for the world to behold. How did he do that when he was in the dirt and dust in his situation?
I. GET UP!
We don’t really read too much about it but I imagine that Peter fell upon his face and began to cry about what he had just done to Jesus and the others that looked up to him for leadership. At some point, Peter stopped crying and feeling sorry for himself and got up! What did he eventually do? He went back to serving Jesus after he know that Jesus forgave him. The devil wants us to stay down because he reminds us “Don’t you know what you just did? God will never forgive you! People will never forget and will hold it against you!” That latter part maybe true but God will forgive and for the ones that can’t put it behind them, that’s between them and the Lord. I wonder if people would really desire to see you remain blown out for God and stay down instead of recovering quickly and rising back up! If you never get up out of the dust, then you cannot logically expect to keep yourself free from it!
II. GO BACK!
At some point Peter had to return back to the rest of the disciples that he betrayed and face the music! He had a lot of explaining to do! I do not read that Peter was there to see Jesus hang on the cross but several other disciples were there. I can’t honestly imagine how they expressed their displeasure at him and even probably resented him and wanted him to leave and never come back. Some probably even said that they would never trust him again! However, it’s funny to me that they would even consider that when no other disciple picked up a sword and fought for Jesus, walked on water to Jesus or even spoke freely to Jesus like he did. One thing that they probably wouldn’t do made them hate him for doing it. Guess what? He came back and had the courage to endure the tough time that he would go through. I wonder if another disciple messed up like he did, would they come back and eat humble pie or would they just walk away? It shows character and courage to go back and attempt to make things right even when those that you have hurt never want to see or hear from you again. One has to show courage to stand up when all their flesh and mind is telling them to do is stay down. Do you have that type of courage?
III. GO FORWARD!
After a period of time, well over 40 days or so, Peter reintegrated back into the fold and God began to use him in an even greater capacity. Peter learned patience, humility and grace in this time. He was still a little rough around the edges but when you mention the 12 disciples who’s name is usually mentioned first. In our walks with God, we must get up from the ground that we fell on, we must go back to the place where we fled from and we must go forward out of the place where we spent time loathing. The ground represented self-pity for failing and not living up to God’s standards. The going back represented self-correction in that we want to make things right that we messed up. The going forward represents self-discipline in maintaining God’s standards because we know what a high price sin will charge to us when we buy into it. However, when we come to the cross of mercy and offer our indebtedness of sin to a God that own everything, we leave with a clear title having been pardoned and justified. The ONLY way Peter was able to go forward was that he had to know that the guilt and heaviness of sin had been removed by his Lord. I’m sure that it probably helped that the other disciples at some point forgave him as well but he still needed to go forward. The result of all of this was Pentecost and the events immediately afterwards! Thousands of souls saved!
Cleaning off the dust is absolutely vital if you have been overtaken in a fault and seek to regain the ground that the devil beguiled from you. Get up, go back and go forward are the things that one must do in order to see God move and settle the hearts and minds of God’s people. Today, if you find yourself in this situation, get up, go back and go forward! Join us again as we address real life issues with biblical answers on Worship With Willie.