As we look to Easter you can have hope for the future. Have you ever done something so bad that you convinced yourself that you could never be forgiven or restored? Maybe you really violated the trust of a spouse or a friend, or you committed a crime, or maybe you were involved in some type of behavior that really caused harm to you and others. Later on, you have a chance for healing, forgiveness, restoration, or redemption but that voice inside your head keeps screaming to you, “You’ve really blown it. You really messed up and you will never amount to anything of value anymore.” Sound familiar?
Well guess what, that voice you hear has it all wrong! In Jesus, we have forgiveness, redemption, and restoration. Let’s be clear, there are consequences for our actions, but because Jesus died on the cross there is also forgiveness, redemption and restoration found in Him and through Him. You might have heard of Simon Peter. He was one of Jesus’ closest disciples. In fact, in Matthew 16, Jesus tells Peter that he will be instrumental in building the church. And you might also know that it was Peter who denied and disowned Jesus three times during Holy Week when it got to be dangerous to admit to knowing and following Jesus.
Now let’s fast forward to after the Resurrection of Jesus. Using the Gospel of John as our reference, we see in chapter 20 that Jesus has appeared first to Mary Magdalene and then to the disciples. In chapter 21 we read that Jesus is standing on the shores of the Sea of Tiberias. The disciples are fishing and catching nothing, and Jesus tells them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. This story might sound familiar to you, and if so, then you know that it was in a similar fashion that Jesus called these fishermen to be his disciples at the beginning of his ministry. In both “fishing” stories, the disciples obey Jesus and throw their nets on the other side of the boat and haul in a huge catch of fish.
Continuing in John 21, soon after this big catch of fish, Jesus is having breakfast with the disciples, including Peter, that very same guy who had just thrown Jesus under the bus about ten days earlier to save his own skin. It is right at this point that Jesus does something pretty amazing… He restores Peter. Jesus lets Peter know that He still loves him and has not abandoned him. Not only that, but Jesus asks Peter three times “Do you love me?” And three times Peter says “Yes.” And each time, Peter is instructed by Jesus to feed and care for the people (here, as often the case, referred to as sheep or lambs). So not only was Peter restored by Jesus, but he also was going to play a big role in spreading the gospel.
So, today, know that Jesus did not only die for you to have eternal life, He also died for you to have a redeemed and restored life today, regardless of your past. He died to free you up from the baggage of yesterday. Regardless of how bad you might have blown it yesterday, right now, today, ask Jesus for His forgiveness and then embrace the freedom Jesus offers you, and listen for His voice and not that voice that keeps bringing up your past. We will end with these words of Jesus found in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
New Bern, North Carolina