Last weekend I attended the Honor Bound 2009 Men’s Conference with a group of guys from our church. It was a terrific conference. We had a small group of guys, and the fellowship throughout the weekend was something I really needed.
The speakers were also great. The first night was Joe Jackson, a former player for the Minnesota Vikings during the days of the Purple People Eaters. The last speaker, on Saturday afternoon, was also good, but I really connected with the middle speaker – Mark Batterson.
Mark spoke about cages that we live in that keep us from being who God wants us to be. His talk focused on the cage of guilt – a cage we all deal with. Most of Mark’s material came from Luke 22 where Peter denies knowing Jesus 3 times before the rooster crows. Mark made an interesting point. Peter would have had to wake up every day to the rooster crowing – a reminder of what must have been one of the lowest points of his life.
I had never thought about it that way before. Imagine the guilt Peter must have felt each day he heard that rooster crow. Later Jesus “reinstates” Peter by asking him 3 times if he loves Him. This reinstatement happens “early in the morning”, perhaps around the time the rooster would have crowed. Jesus didn’t want Peter to live with the guilt of what he had done. It is interesting to note the time that he chose to reinstate him and to make a new association with the crowing of the rooster. Peter did not have to live with that guilt any longer.
Many times we live with guilt. We struggle with certain sins or habits, and even when we ask for forgiveness, we have a hard time get over the guilt of what we have done. We can accept that God will forgive us, but we often don’t forgive ourselves, and we stay focused on our shortcomings, which keeps us from being able to move and do the things that God has called us to do.
Which brings me back, in a round about way, to the title of this post. Many times Peter gets a bad wrap. He was the one who sank when trying to walk on the water to Jesus. He was the one who hacked a guy’s ear off when they arrested Jesus in the Garden. And Peter was the one who denied Jesus three times in the moment of Jesus’ greatest need.
Mark made some good points when looking at all these shortcomings. You don’t hear about any other disciples being willing to jump out of the boat to go to Jesus. Where were the other disciples jumping to Jesus aide in the Garden? And why weren’t there any other disciples even in the vicinity of Jesus’ location to be able to be questioned about their association with Jesus?
Yes, Peter made mistakes. But he also lived dangerously. He got out of his “comfort zone” and took risks for God. And look what happened on the Day of Pentecost due to the reinstatement that occurred after Peter’s lowest moment.