How quick are you and I to say “I will never do thus and so?” We can learn a mighty lesson from our beloved Peter who more than once has “opened mouth, inserted foot.” They say you can learn from another’s experiences so that you don’t need to do “another lap around the wilderness” but do we? Peter’s quick “NEVER” is a lesson in recognizing that there is but one step needed to rectify our standing with God. “I will confess my rebellious acts to the Lord.” And then you forgave my sins.” [Psa 32:5] Wisdom lesson from Peter: true repentance is when you recognize your sin, have a teachable spirit and a humbleness to admit it. Wisdom lesson from Jesus: I am willing to forgive when one is truly repentant.
Jesus quoted Zech “you will all scatter” but our beloved Peter exclaimed: I will “never” forsake you and am willing to die for you. His word “NEVER” echoes across the Kidron Valley yet within a few short hours he will be found alone weeping bitterly in total repentance. He will weep for the words that are now etched in the scrolls of the sacred scripture: I do not know the man. Through this short vignette we also learn a more important lesson; when we are repentant God offers total and complete forgiveness as he did for Peter in John 21. He asked three times: Do you love me and three times Peter said yes. I love you more with a total commitment from this point forward until I meet you in eternity. That is true repentance. Jesus does not ask for a rehearsal of our sins; he knows them. What he is asking is where is your heart now?
Repentance frees us from our sin but remorse leaves us in bondage. Repentance comes from the heart but remorse is only surface deep. Peter is our example of one who was truly repentant and was restored to full fellowship. Judas is our example of one who was only remorseful and took his own life with no hope of eternity with the Savior.
Have you repented as Peter or are you still tracing the footprints of Judas? Will you take time now to weep and confess your sin to Jesus who gave his life on the cross paying your penalty and is willing to forgive totally and completely?