The Forgiving Father
This Father’s Day, we were reminded of the goodness of God; the perfect Father who is “in the business of redemption, forgiveness, U-turns, and of molding and shaping our lives to be more like Jesus.”
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the apostle Peter, with his tendency to blurt out everything he was thinking and his impulsive nature. He wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and he messed up in big ways. If we were to build a “dream team” for Jesus, I don’t think we would put Peter on it, based on who he was before Jesus’ resurrection.
But that’s the best part: just like Jesus didn’t stay dead, Peter didn’t stay broken. As a matter of fact, his worst moment (when he denied even knowing Jesus, let alone being one of His disciples) became the vehicle for his transformation (read John 21 and Acts 1-4)!
Throughout the book of John, we see instance after instance of Peter’s missteps, gaffes, pride, and stumblings. But at the same time, his story shows us some of the most important things we can know about God through the way Jesus interacted with Peter.
- God is for us - The first time they meet, Jesus changes Peter’s name from Simon to Peter, which means “rock.” In that scruffy, impulsive, smelly fisherman, Jesus already saw who Peter would become.
- God is with us - Even when Peter messed up, Jesus moved toward him, pulling him up out of the waves and restoring him despite his denial (just to name two instances).
- God delights in taking care of us - After Jesus’ resurrection, when Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and began preaching with boldness, he pretty quickly found himself in trouble with the religious and government authorities. But as we read in Acts 12, Peter was protected and supernaturally set free to continue the work he’d been given to do.
We have all had “rooster crow” moments in this life, whether we betrayed other people or God Himself. But we serve the God who gives us the right to become His children (John 1:12). No matter how the word “father” makes you feel today, no matter the “rooster crow” moments you’ve had that you think you can never recover from, God’s forgiveness is free and endlessly transformative. Just ask Peter.