Day 45 :: He’ll not let my soul be lost
He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was grieved that he asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
“Feed my sheep,” Jesus said.
We hear a lot about ‘Cancel Culture’ today. Individuals who fell short of the current cultural absolutes have found themselves silenced. As our society retreats further from its Christian foundations the concept of mercy becomes all the more foreign.
When we look at Peter’s fall, we see a tragedy which if dealt with by the world’s standards would probably have left Peter hopeless. While the world round about us may think it foolish, Christianity’s grandeur is its prizing of mercy. Jonah once complained, “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love” (Jonah 4:2). While Jonah lamented this truth, wanting to hoard that mercy for Israel, we cherish that truth knowing that this is our only hope.
Jesus warns us that “whoever denies me before others, I will also deny him before my Father” (Matthew 10:33) and this is exactly what Peter did and Jesus rebuked him for it. Just as Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him three times and Peter felt the weight of his guilt.
John Piper says, “Jesus prayed for Peter before He denied Him that he would not stumble, and he didn’t stumble utterly, irretrievably.” Christ went onto foretell the manner of death Peter would suffer whereby “Peter would glorify God.” History tells us Peter died as a faithful martyr, a changed man who died unflinchingly for Christ. Christ is telling Peter he still has a future in Him, His soul will not be lost and His promises to Peter will last.
Like many of us at times, Peter probably felt like he’d blown it completely. On the contrary, Jesus says I have plans for you, and you will be mine till the end. Our very own Paul McLoughlan, brought up as a Roman Catholic, said in his recent podcast with Pete Stewart that while he was ensnared in addiction, he knew he could never build up enough merit to make up for the wrong he had done and a lost eternity was what awaited him, but then he heard the Good News of Jesus Christ and he’s been a faithful ambassador ever since. We can often write people off and be impatient in our dealings with others but Jesus, who unlike us has every right to condemn, instead forgave Peter. What great mercy!
Our Father does the same for us every time we fall into disobedience, he forgives us because Christ died for us. In Matthew 18:21-22 Peter asked our Lord how many times he should forgive when he is sinned against. “As many as seven times?” Peter asked. No, Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.”
There is no number on it because God doesn’t put a number on the number of times he forgives us. J.C. Ryle said, “Let all the world know that the Lord Jesus will not cast away His believing people because of short-comings and infirmities.” We could never keep our hold for we are adulterous people.
I remember as a child wandering away from my gran, getting myself lost in the Shandwick centre and having to seek help from a security guard. We have all done the same with God, we are prone to wander but as the old hymn says, “Christ has regarded our helpless estate and shed His own blood for my soul.”
We are bought by Him at such a cost, with Christ’s very own blood; He owns us, and He will hold us fast. Jesus is not an advocate of cancel culture, He is faithful to the end. As another old hymn goes,
“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
there is no shadow of turning with Thee.”
The passage finishes with Jesus’ instruction to ‘Follow Me.’ When you fall, get back up and continue to follow. Yes, the journey is difficult but keep going! Fear not dear Saint, your sin is great, but the mercy of God is immeasurably greater!
Passages to read: John 21:15-19
A thought to remember: God is faithful to us, even when we are unfaithful to Him
A question to ask: Are you quick to repent when you fall into sin?
A song to sing: He will hold me fast