It’s tempting to become a Monday morning quarterback when reading about the Apostle Peter. He gets a bad rap in sermons and Bible studies—the motor-mouth, the braggart, the guy everyone dismisses with a condescending pat on the back because he’s self-sabotaged once again.
There’s no doubt Peter’s tragedies convolute his triumphs, but before we shake our collective heads and wag our fingers at Peter the Hothead, let’s remember his redemption. In John 21, Christ dredged Peter up from the darkest deaths and restored him after back-to-back-to-back denials.
Christ forgave Peter even after he had willful amnesia as Christ met his fate before the Chief Priests. Now that’s redemption if I’ve ever seen it.
Sounds a lot like us, doesn’t it?
As many of us can probably attest, at times, we have distanced ourselves from Christ both before and after becoming believers when someone has put the heat on us for being in the kingdom. Those quiet compromises that help us squirm out of the line of fire—they reveal an unwillingness to answer the bell and have us deny Christ all the same.
But what we forget about Peter is that he was a survivor. The same guy who turned his back on Christ stood before Jerusalem on Pentecost and preached a sermon that brought 3,000 souls into the kingdom. The same guy who slithered out his association with Jesus refused to stop preaching the Gospel, testifying with John before the Sanhedrin:
“As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” -Acts 4:20
That’s a survivor right there. Peter demonstrates that God doesn’t need superstars; he just needs survivors, people who will keep showing up.
And therein lies the test: to keep showing up and proclaiming the good news even with our brokenness and shame. The Holy Spirit will purify us and equip us to proclaim. But we must carry onward, and that’s difficult.
I think a lot of us feel guilty that we don’t suffer like the persecuted church around the globe and that we should muffle our trials because they’re insignificant in comparison.
While there’s no doubt the persecuted church’s anguish is ratcheted up in ways we cannot even imagine, satan still wants to get us, even in the relative safety and comfort in the Western world. Don’t worry, satan will still tailor an onslaught for you.
You may not face beheadings, crucifixions, or homelessness, but the devil knows how to suffocate you in your context. That means you will have to be a survivor just like Peter.
We all have stories of survival, tales of how God redeemed us from not just shooting ourselves in the foot, but rather, nearly blasting it off with a machine gun of sins. That your reading this post, however, means you’ve slogged forward.
If you’ve survived a tragedy, a heartbreak, a shameful iniquity—that means you’ve come out the other side and been forgiven. God doesn’t want you on the shelf, whimpering about how you aren’t worthy.
Peter wasn’t worthy either, but Christ gave him grace. He will do the same for you.
Kevin Cochrane is a writer and college student. For updates on his latest blog posts here at restandrefuge.wordpress.com, you can follow him on Twitter @RunFree_KC, find him on Facebook, or click the follow button at the bottom of the page to receive notifications by email. Want to read more? Check him out at themajestysmen.com/author/kevincochrane, a friendship and mentoring community for Christian males (views on my blog at restandrefuge.wordpress.com are my own and do not necessarily represent those of The Majesty’s Men). To contact, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.