God is in the restoration business! He sees the beauty that our lives can be when we are rightly related to Him! Despite all the damage that sin can do to our souls, it’s never too late for grace to restore our lives! God takes the broken pieces of our heart and through His Son, He heals the hurt, restores our souls and reinstates us for service in His Kingdom for His glory! In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul described our lives like common clay pots that hold a great treasure. The treasure is Christ Himself indwelling us by faith. It is the Gospel of the Good News that we’ve been given to share in a bad news world. Then he adds what we’ve all felt at one time or another:
“We are handicapped on all sides, but we are never frustrated; we are puzzled, but never in despair. We are persecuted, but we never have to stand it alone: we may be knocked down but we are never knocked out!”
This was certainly the case for Peter. Peter was knocked down. He denied even knowing Jesus to save his skin. Jesus said he would, but he didn’t believe it – until it happened. Then he saw what Jesus already knew. It crushed him. He went out and wept bitterly! He was done! Then came the risen Christ! As with Mary and James, Jesus had a personal one-on-one with Peter that would change his life forever! It began on the shore of a lake where Jesus and some others were fishing. While they were out on the boat they heard someone from the shoreline ask them, “Have you caught any fish?” They had no idea it was Jesus until He told them to throw their nets on the other side of the boat and when they did, their nets couldn’t hold the catch! Then they remembered! It was just like that when Jesus first called them! “It is the Lord!” cried John. Impulsively, Peter jumps out of the boat and swims to shore. That morning, Jesus would restore this fallen disciple. For every time Peter had denied Him, Jesus would ask, “Peter do you love me?” He spoke to the hurt in Peter’s heart and brought healing! I love the way the Phillips paraphrases their exchange:
“When they had finished breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he replied, ‘you know that I am your friend.’ ‘Then feed my lambs,’ returned Jesus. Then he said for the second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ returned Peter. ‘You know that I am your friend.’ ‘Then care for my sheep,’replied Jesus. Then for the third time, Jesus spoke to him and said, ‘Simon, son of John, are you my friend?’ Peter was deeply hurt because Jesus’ third question to him was ‘Are you my friend?’, and he said, ‘Lord, you know everything. You know that I am your friend!’ ‘Then feed my sheep,’ Jesus said to him.’” John 21:15-17 (Phillips NT)
Jesus restored and reinstated Peter for an assignment beyond what he could have ever imagined! It would take a second wave before Peter would be completely ready though. That would come at Pentecost when Peter was indwelled by the Holy Spirit and would boldly proclaim the very Christ he once denied! Like Peter, you are not a product of your past! Your failure is never final when you experience the grace of the risen Lord!