Bible Passage: Romans 4:7
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered.“
Three days after the crucifixion, when the women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’s body with special oils, they found an angel instead of a body. The angel said to them, “But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you” (Mark 16:7, NKJV). Tell His disciples — and Peter. Why the emphasis on Peter? Because prior to the crucifixion, Peter denied Jesus three times.
Peter, who liked to make grandiose statements that he couldn’t back up, said to Jesus in the Upper Room, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you” (Matthew 26:33, NLT). Peter then falls asleep while he’s supposed to be praying for Jesus, reacts impulsively cutting off Malchus’s ear, and then denies Jesus three times. Well done, Peter.
Let’s take a quick look at those denials. First, Peter lied to a servant girl who asked if he’d been with Jesus: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Then he lied to another servant girl who said he most definitely had been with Jesus: “I don’t even know the man!” Finally, he lied to a group of bystanders who recognized his accent as Galilean: “I DON’T KNOW HIM!” (see Luke 22:54–62).
Peter is oblivious to his betrayal until a crowing rooster reminds Him of the Master’s prophecy. The sound triggers a flood of remembrance and understanding. He had vowed to go to jail or even to death for Jesus. Peter wept bitterly in shame and regret: What would Jesus, his Messiah and friend, think of him now?
Thus, it is no accident that the angel encourages Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples and Peter to meet Jesus in Galilee. Galilee! It was on the shores of that vast lake that Jesus had first called Peter and his brother Andrew to follow him. And there, the risen Jesus would instruct Peter to cast his net on the other side (see John 21). When Peter realized it was Jesus, he jumped ship and headed straight for his risen Lord. In that poignant reunion Jesus forgave Peter by giving the fisherman the opportunity to declare his love for Him three times — one for each denial.
Forgiveness is a full pardon. It’s a fresh start. It’s another chance. It’s a new beginning. It’s a lifting of a heavy burden and the canceling of a debt.
Where does this power to forgive come from? It comes from God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and through the witness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The devil will try to trick you with his schemes, his devices, his sly ways. One of those strategies is to try to trap you in unforgiveness, which will completely destroy the quality of your life and steal the peace in your heart. Don’t give him an opening. Slam the door in the devil’s face. Forgive, and move on to new beginnings.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. Lord, we praise you for our new beginnings when we confess our sins to you. Thank you for your mercy and grace made new each day. Amen and amen!