God’s Faithfulness Built into Our DNA
Heartbroken and weeping, the Apostle Peter sobbed by himself. Chest convulsing, all he could see burned into his memory were the soft, brown eyes of his dearest friend whom he had just purposefully and vehemently disowned in a moment of gripping fear. (Luke 22:56-62)
Peter remembered the first time those eyes had looked at him, he pleaded with Jesus to just walk away then because he knew that he was bad, infectious, worthless. He knew he would fail Jesus but he couldn’t convince Jesus to leave. Then his memory flashed with the fire of love in Jesus’ eyes when Jesus, standing on top of the water, grasped his hand and drew him out of the Sea of Galilee after he was miraculously walking on water towards Jesus, but then doubted and started sinking. Adrenaline was still raging because Peter had just defended Jesus not many moments before by slicing at the face of Jesus’ arrestors. Searing tears ran down his face as he recalled Jesus’ peace-filled words in the garden, “Put your sword away, Peter, or you might be killed…this is all part of God’s plan…” (Matt. 26:52-54, translation mine)
Days later, the weight of guilt Peter carried made the rugged fish nets feel heavier than usual. The air felt cold and unforgiving, like the heaviness he felt about how he had betrayed his closest companion. Going back to the only thing Peter knew, he fished alongside the friends he had left. The tension and depression among them unconsciously weighed their empty boat down as they tried, unsuccessfully, to forget and simply catch some fish…
Jesus showed up in the near distance and Peter dove into the water to meet him on the shore. Jesus already had breakfast made. “Simon.” That name cut deep into his soul. He had returned to his old identity, and Jesus called it out and reminded him. “Do you love me? Then take care of my sheep…”
There is an important piece here that we should not overlook. Peter majorly failed the Lord at the most critical point. He should have hung up his shepherding call along with his Christ-follower label. Jesus should have just told him, “You are way too weak to lead my people. I can’t trust you. You’re a total flake, dude.” But instead, Jesus hears Peter’s desire for Jesus and reaffirms his love and call, “Follow me.” (John 21:19)
The extraction of this interaction is that our performance does not dictate our identity, our identity should inform our actions. Because we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26,27), he sees the reflection of himself in us. Also when we are in Christ and desire to follow him, he sees a beloved son or daughter rather than our glaring brokenness.
Because God exists inside and outside of time, he sees the finished products we will become while simultaneously working to get us there. The Scriptures say, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13) We can take heart knowing that when he looks at us in our moments of failure, like he looked at Peter, it is not a look of disappointment and disgust, but of love. Because we are made in the image of God and ransomed by his Son, he will never forget us (Isaiah 49:15), he will never overlook us (1 Pet. 3:12), he will never leave us (Deut. 31:8). May this bring substantial peace in those hard moments when we doubt the length and height and depth of God’s love for his kids…