When the apostle Peter denied Jesus three times, he deeply regretted it. Luke 22:61 says, after Peter’s denial; “…the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word that the Lord had spoken to him: ”Before the rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times. And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.”
The fact that Peter wept bitterly after denying he knew Jesus, was that he felt guilty, heartsore, probably angry with himself too. He felt defeated, weakened, and sorrowful like we all do when we hurt the heart of Father God and disown Him.
Earlier, in Matthew 26:33, “Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” In Verse 35 he insisted – “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!”
We can only imagine how Peter’s damaged heart felt after Jesus was crucified and Peter did not have time for reconciliation and restoration. But praise the Lord! Jesus arose and Peter witnessed the empty tomb. Yet his guilt probably clung to him until Jesus one day appeared to His disciples on the beach, and they had a restoration dialogue – “When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again, Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.” [John 21:15-17]
With each question and admission, Jesus was restoring Peter’s dignity, and affirming Peter that he would need to take care of others. Peter would need to deny himself, relinquish his impulsiveness and his failures and become a steady rock.
No matter what we’ve done in the past, Jesus can restore our dignity and heal our wounds. Sometimes our greatest failures become God’s foundation for our greatest successes.
Precious Lord Jesus, Thank You that You restored Peter and that you also restore us lovingly when we come to you and seek a deeper walk with You. Thank You that “…we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose for them.” [Rom. 8:28] Thank You that when You restore us, You also renew and use us for Your glory and Your purposes. Please help me to be submissive to Your will and calling upon my life, Amen.