As I was reading the account of Peter's denial today in Mark for my daily reading, I was again struck with the beautiful, scandalous, relentless grace of Jesus. He is, as John Eldredge stated in his recent book, "The Beautiful Outlaw".
Many people believe that Peter was the source of authorship and that John Mark is simply communicating Peter's account of Christ's life. That seems very possible, even probable.
I wanted to take a little journey into the story of Peter's denial and all that surrounded it ultimately trying to reach the story of his reinstatement into ministry and the juicy little details surrounding the context of that incredible snapshot in the life of Jesus and the life of Peter. Mark tells a small little freeze frame of this story, but there are several frames in this reel that need expositing to get the whole story. In order to do that...let me move over from John Mark's to John's account.
Let's approach scripture with the curious mind of a child and pray that God allows us to see something “again for the first time” as it relates Jesus' graceful approach to “human beings who act like human beings”.
3 years of Jesus’ investment and it took 3 days for them to go back to their old way of life. It took 3 days to erase 3 years.
Doesn’t it feel like that sometime, like it takes 3 seconds to undo 3 minutes, or 3 minutes to undo 3 hours, or 3 hours to undo three days, or three days to undo 3 years, or 3 years to undo 3 decades?
The Mathematics of this passage would indicate that it is 365x’s easier to fall away than it is to grow and stay.
Grace defined – “Instead of a Beatdown, you get Breakfast”
…but this was not the first time something like this happened…
Do you suppose that Peter’s expectation of Jesus’ reaction was all the more full of fear the second go around? I do.
It’s one thing when someone does something to you or something horrible happens to you, but I feel so much more condemnation and guilt and shame when “I have no one to blame but myself”.
“I did this to myself”.
“I get myself into this mess.”
“I deserve to be here.”
“I don’t deserve mercy this time.”
I can’t tell you how many people don’t come back to church because they “have no one to blame but themselves” for the predicament they’re in.
“Go away from me, Lord. I am a failure!” is the cry of so many who live in a world of guilt, shame and self-condemnation.
But the Lord replies in the beginning with Peter with “Do not be afraid.” And His reply in the end with Peter is “Come and have breakfast.”
Why is it so difficult for us to trust in God’s love? Why does he need to keep coming back for us showing up and showing us grace? (three times he showed himself to them)
Check out this list of 3's in this storyline of grace...
Why do failure, weakness and falling end up being used powerfully by God in the aftermath to position a person for Kingdom-influence?
A man that is fully undone by this process of sanctification has these 6 powerful influential ingredients, better known as the “behavior of Heaven”.
And this is the hope we hold out…that when we are expecting a beatdown He makes us breakfast. And every time we experience this grace, it should increasingly take off the “scales” that cover us all so that we can touch other people with the same grace we’ve been touched with.
Thank you God for your grace. Thanks for making us breakfast.