Jesus paid the ultimate price when He died on the cross. He was betrayed and abandoned by his friends, he was accused by his own people, tortured and ridiculed, and then executed as a criminal.
What makes it all different is that is not where the story ends. Jesus defeated death and rose from the dead. Because of his resurrection, we can have the courage to face our sins because they’ve been forgiven.
Before his arrest, during the last supper, Jesus tells Peter that he will deny knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crows. Peter is adamant that he will not fail Jesus, that he will go to prison with Jesus, that he will die with Jesus if need be.
Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”Luke 22:33-34
Sure enough, when Jesus was arrested, Peter followed behind. And three times, he was asked if he was with Jesus. And three times he denied even knowing Jesus.
But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.Luke 22: 60-62
Sure enough, Jesus was right and Peter suddenly realized what he had done. He had denied Jesus just as he was told he would. Peter had to have been aghast at what he had done. He probably felt as Jesus died on the cross, that the betrayal that he had committed against Jesus was unforgivable.
But because of the resurrection of Jesus, we are forgiven. Even our greatest betrayal is forgiven.
The disciples, still despondent from losing their leader, go back to what they know best. They try to get their lives back to normal, what it was like before Jesus showed up in the first place. So they go fishing. Jesus appears on the shore and when Peter realizes that it is Jesus he jumps into the sea to get to him quickly.
That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. … This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.John 21:7, 14
Peter denied Christ three times. Jesus appeared to the disciples three times. It’s as if Jesus was saying to Peter, “You denied me three times, I’ve forgive for each one of those.”
Because Jesus paid for all our sins, for all time, he forgives us each and every time we fall short. I, as a Christian, am a flawed human being. I fail and fall short all the time. But I know, when I repent and ask for forgiveness, I am forgiven, because Jesus paid for it all.
Let our sin, what Satan intended for us to fall, but Jesus has forgiven, be used to give glory to God. Our forgiveness from our sin is a perfect picture of the grace of God and God can use it to bring glory to his name.
It’s interesting the interaction that follows between Jesus and Peter shortly after they reach the shore.
When they finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”John 21:15-17
And then after telling about the death of Peter he concludes with;
And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”John 21:19
Peter had denied Jesus three times. Jesus then appeared to the disciples three times. Now Peter gets to tell Jesus three times that he loves him. And Jesus says, “Follow me.”
We can sin, and will sin, but each time, we are forgiven through the grace of God and blood of Christ shed on the cross.
The denial by Peter, his sin story, became his God story when Jesus conquered death and Peter was forgiven. Our sin can be used the same. Despite what happened last week in our lives, Jesus can use that for his glory, because we are no longer slaves to our sins, but are freed from it.