Thursday’s section of this week’s Sabbath School lesson asks:
Have you ever messed up really badly and when you expected only condemnation and judgment, you were given mercy, grace, and forgiveness instead?
Peter vowed to follow Jesus even if it cost him his life. When Jesus was arrested, Peter whipped out his sword and swung at a soldier’s heard catching only his ear. Then Peter finds himself in the judgment hall.
A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.” But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Matthew 26:69-70 NLT
Peter was ready to fight the soldier, but could not handle the snickering of a cute young lady. This happened not just once but three times! May I dare say, it was becoming a habit? When the rooster crowed,
he went away, weeping bitterly. Matthew 26:75 NLT
Peter is dejected. He let Jesus down.
Roy Riegels* picked up a fumbled football in the 1929 Rose bowl. Being spun around by an opponent he lost his sense of direction and ran the wrong way, for 69 yards, until he was finally tackled by his own quarterback, thus saving him from making a score for the other team!
After the play, Riegels was so distraught that he had to be talked into returning to the game by coach Nibs Price for the second half. Riegels said “Coach, I can’t do it. I’ve ruined you, I’ve ruined myself, I’ve ruined the team. I couldn’t face that crowd to save my life.” Coach Price responded by saying “Roy, get up and go back out there — the game is only half over.”
Riegels gave one of his best performances ever in the second half of that game, including blocking a punt from the other team. Riegels won first team all-american honors that year.
Sure you say, the coach could leave him in the game, because it is just a silly little game anyway. But Peter was caught up in the middle of the greatest controversy and battle between good and evil of all time! Still, after not just one or two but three terrible blunders, Jesus does not kick Peter off the team. After the Resurrection, an angel gives a message to the women at the tomb. It also contains a special note for Peter, to let him know He is still a part of the team.
Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there…. Mark 16:7 NLT
Peter did not take this grace for granted! He never denied Jesus again, even when threatened with prison or death. Aren’t you glad Jesus does not kick us off the team when we mess up? Like Peter, lets not take this grace for granted, but show our appreciation by accepting Jesus’ grace and forgiveness, and doing our best out of love for Jesus.