My friend Sam Allberry likes to say, “There is more forgiveness in Jesus than there is failure in us.” But that can be so hard to believe, can’t it? There can be a whole lot of failure in us, if we’re honest. But since God knows everything, he knew what he was getting into with us from the very beginning. That means we can’t surprise him. That also means there will never be a moment in your Christian life when Jesus regrets forgiving you. There will never be a moment when you disgust him.
I love the story of Peter in the Bible. That guy could really be an idiot. Maybe that’s why I identify with him so. I can be an idiot too. I’m thankful God loves idiots.
Peter’s whole life was one big walking object lesson. Peter did some great things. Peter did some really not great things. Can you relate? I know I can. That’s why I love the last chapter of John’s Gospel that contains a breakfast conversation between Jesus and Peter. Over a campfire by the sea, Jesus shows Peter an ocean of grace.
If you feel like a failure, the Bible is for you. The gospel is for you. Jesus is for you. The story of the friendship between Jesus and Peter is for you.
I love how author Bob Goff describes this passage in John’s Gospel. He says, “When Jesus rose from the dead he didn’t make a speech to the world, he made breakfast for his friends.” That pretty well sums it up. After Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus made him breakfast on the beach and gave him three opportunities to say, “I love you.”
This is powerful grace. This is the kind of forgiveness that can transform a life. After this conversation we don’t find Peter fishing again. Before this point it seemed like every time Jesus turned around Peter had run off to fish. But after this conversation we just find Peter preaching.
Peter’s Lowest Moment
The breakfast conversation in John 21 follows the darkest chapter in Peter’s life. He had just denied he knew Jesus three times. Peter went from charging soldiers with a dagger to keep them from taking Jesus away to stuttering that he didn’t know Jesus to a young girl who simply opened the garden gate for him.