Do you feel and experience God’s complete forgiveness when you know you have blown it?
Peter denied the Lord three times, once with cursing and swearing. He was distraught and wept bitterly, yet was the first one to jump out of the boat when the disciples saw the Lord on the shore of the sea of Tiberius.
Judas betrayed the Lord for thirty pieces of silver–the price of a slave. He repented and I am sure he also wept, yet hanged himself.
What is the difference between these two disciples? Peter was extremely upset with himself after his denial of Jesus. Sometimes we feel like a failure when we disappoint people. But Peter got a grasp of the fact that Jesus loved him no matter what he had done.
We read in John, Chapter 21, that Peter was the first one to tell his friends he was going back to fishing after their precious Lord had been crucified. They fished all night and caught nothing. There was no blessing on their efforts. But when Jesus appeared early in the morning He released on them an overabundance of love and grace by allowing their boat to be filled to overflowing with 153 fish. Peter was the first to acknowledge that Jesus was the “reason for their season” and jumped into the water to get to Jesus.
If it had been me I would have hung my head in shame, hiding behind my friends, and been the last one to acknowledge the Savior. Not Peter. He dove into the water, for He knew the love of His Master.
Why was it that Peter had the boldness to be first to see his Master? After all, he was the only one that openly denied Jesus. He should have jumped on the other side of the boat to get away from facing the one he betrayed.
I believe two things happened that completely changed this fisherman.
In 1 Peter 5:1 he says that he saw Christ with his own eyes on the cross. How confused and struck he must have been to see his beloved Lord tortured like that. And on top of that his whole being must have been shaken to the core when he denied Jesus for the third time, then he saw the look of Jesus as the cock crowed the third time. Jesus responded with a look of love and forgiveness. I am sure he pondered over those two happenings for many days, then found total forgiveness from his Lord. No wonder Peter was excited to see his Lord and Savior.
Jesus already had fish on the fire for breakfast, even before they arrived on the shore. Peter then did the impossible–without any help he pulled the whole bunch of fish onto the shore. Imagine dragging 153 fish all by yourself. The impossible can be done when you are in love.
After they had satisfied their hunger, Jesus confirmed Peter’s calling three times. He was to feed the people that were to come to him in the future, reaffirming forgiveness the same number of times that he had denied his Master. Peter was forgiven and called to extend God’s forgiveness to others over and over again until he himself was crucified. Those who have been forgiven much love much. (Luke 7)
You may have been tangled up in a barbwire of unforgiveness and regret for what you have done, but God wants to give you a clean garment of love and forgiveness so you can walk free for the rest of your life.
I hear Jesus say, “I forgave you before you even committed the offense, simply because there is nothing you can do to stop Me from loving you. I pronounce you clean and whole, untangled from the grip of guilt and shame. You are forgiven and set free for now and for all eternity.”