At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered that the Lord had said, ‘Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.’ And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly. (Luke 22:61-63)
At eleven years old I entered Boy Scout troop 91 in Louisville, Kentucky. The scout master was Mr. Nathan Norton. He was a great role model for young men and I greatly respected and admired him. During one of the weekly scout meetings he divided us up by patrols to participate in a game designed to encourage teamwork and trust. Each patrol sat on the floor with their backs to a table filled with a couple dozen objects. Each patrol was brought to the table, given a short time to look at the objects, and return to record as many objects as could be remembered. The group remembering the most objects won.
At one point I took an unfair second glance at the objects, but as I turned back around my eyes met Mr. Norton’s. I quickly took my eyes off him, feeling shame and embarrassment. The worst feeling though was knowing I had betrayed the trust of a man I deeply respected and who thought well of me. It was difficult, but I went to him, confessed my deed, and asked forgiveness, which he granted. While I regretted my foolishness and received a gentle rebuke, I also experienced the power of forgiveness.
How awful and empty Peter must have felt when after his third denial of Christ, the Lord turned and looked at him. Peter was told it would occur, but insisted he would remain loyal. Instead he failed, was humiliated and let down the one he loved and respected most.
Jesus however not only told Peter of his coming denials, but also of the coming provision, restoration, and the honor of encouraging and ministering once again for Christ.
Sufficient words to express your grace and forgiveness do not exist, yet this morning my heart is alive with gratefulness. Amen.
“…and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” Matthew 6:12