“Even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never stumble.”
That is Peter, being brash, just before Jesus is handed over to the Roman soldiers. Peter loved Christ dearly and never dreamed he would falter or betray him. This particular story appears in one version or another in all four gospels.
The story is about forgiveness.
I had a lot of friends in high school but was not a part of the popular crowd. A friend of mine, who was perhaps the only political junkie at our small Idaho high school, decided to run for student body president against one of the most popular girls in school. He also wore a tie to school everyday, that is how popular he was. He asked for my support and thinking I would like someone to stick it to the popular kids, I brashly said, “Oh yeah you have my support.”
Two hours later after I had told a few people I was backing my friend only to be seriously mocked, I no longer backed him. He sensed my betrayal and we made zero eye contact the rest of the year. It still haunts me to know I was so determined to “fit in” that I so easily let down a friend.
How many of you folks make bold declarations only to have fear rise up at the moment of truth and send you running? How many of us, like myself, have said, “Until death do us part,” only to find yourself divorced, only a few years later in my case, wondering what the heck happened?
Through the years I have found myself weeping bitterly like Peter after the rooster crowd for the third time, full of despair and shame, knowing full well I betrayed myself and loved ones.
Now Christ shows us how God responds to our many betrayals and stumbles. Not only does he forgive Peter, he shows tremendous confidence in him; asking him to stay on Earth and, “Tend my sheep.”
Now in this life we have all stumbled many times, betrayed Christ daily with our lies, passions, aggressions and prides. Yet we are on a journey to our unity with Christ and God forgives us every step of the way. Not only forgives but has great confidence, that once our ships are righted, we will do many great things so as to glorifying his name. The key is to stay patient and try to not make any bold statements or declarations until you feel Christ’s joy and peace guiding your heart.
God Bless you folks!
Hobo John here and I love you with everything that I have.