As I write, it is Thursday of Easter week. It’s the night of the Passover Jesus celebrated with His disciples. They ate around the table. He instituted what we now celebrate as the Lord ’s Supper, giving the wine and the bread a new significance – to remember Him and what He was about to do for us. At dinner, Jesus also taught them about future difficulties to come, but they still couldn’t grasp fully the meaning of it. Peter pronounced that he’d follow Jesus anywhere. But, instead of confirming that thought, Jesus predicted Peter’s denial, and loved him anyway. A few hours later, as Jesus is being held and questioned by authorities, Peter does deny that he knows Him. Jesus looks at him sadly. Peter is also sad and brokenhearted.
Jesus dies. Peter thinks I’ve denied my best friend and can’t fix this because he’s dead. Then,… HE IS RISEN! Jesus Lives! Peter is hopeful, yet embarrassed because of how he abandoned his friend. But, later, on the beach, Jesus extends the hand of fellowship. Peter’s denial was a 3 part event. Jesus’ restoration is also in 3 parts! Jesus extends forgiving words and builds a great relationship with Peter, on which the church in all history is built.
In grief, we sometimes give and sometimes we take offense at what someone says or doesn’t say, what they do or don’t do. Do you need to forgive someone? Do you need to be forgiven! It’s all available to you. Have you denied Christ in any way?? Have you thought or said something like this: “If that’s the way it is,…” “I can’t believe in a God who does that!” “That’s not the way I would do it if I were God.” These ideas could lead to a sort of denial of God’s sovereignty or of His place in your life. Jesus already has paid a costly price to reconcile with you. He is ready to restore you, even if it’s been years since you said a word to him. He says:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
He uses the same words that I’ve highlighted here:
But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16 NIV
You may be weary. You are probably burdened in grief. Jesus says come. He uses the same phrase when invited the kids to come up on His lap. He says His whole kingdom is built with humble, needy people who come like children. Just like with Peter, Jesus wants to reconcile with you for any issues between you and Him. He wants to give you all the blessings of close fellowship. Don’t be afraid to begin that relationship anew even if it has been years.