Unbroken for Jesus

Read John 21:1–19.

Simon Peter was fiercely loyal to Jesus—or at least his tongue was. One time, he promised the Lord, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you” (Matthew 26:33 NLT), going so far as to add, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” (v. 35 NLT). In a group of twelve, Peter wanted to be Jesus’ number-one friend. But talk is cheap.

When Jesus was arrested and standing trial before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council in Jerusalem, the pressure was on. Peter felt himself sinking—not entirely unlike that time he tried to walk on water (see Matthew 14:22–33)—and three times he denied knowing Jesus. Luke tells us that immediately after the third denial fell from Peter’s lips, “the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter” (22:61 NET). Ouch. That had to fill Peter with unspeakable guilt. But it was too late for him to change things. So much for his promises of unbending allegiance. They turned out to be empty, nothing more than good intentions that fell short.

What I expect from Peter’s story at this point is for him to crawl into a cave somewhere to live out his days in regret, mourning what he had done and unable to forgive himself. When Peter’s an old man, hollowed out and isolated by his failures on that fateful night, Jesus might show up at the cave to tell him all is forgiven, Peter’s years of solitude and pain having been penance enough for his betrayal.

I expect Peter’s storyline to go this way because that’s how I believe my story deserves to be written when I screw up. But that’s not how things work with Jesus.

Jesus knew Simon Peter’s weak heart would fail. He even warned Peter about what would happen (John 13:38). But when it did, Jesus sought out his friend in his proverbial cave before too much time passed. For Peter, his cave was his fishing boat. And one morning, Jesus was there on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, cooking breakfast and waiting (see John 21:3–4).

Just as He does with His children today, the Lord used Peter’s sin to bring about something beautiful. A broken and humbled Peter understood grace in a way that the proud and loud Peter never could have fathomed. As it turns out, such people are just the sort that Jesus wants to use.

“God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because nobody is as they should be.”

—Brennan Manning

This devotional comes from the ebook 21/Jesus, which is available for free: https://amzn.to/3VP6hi4.

5 thoughts on “Unbroken for Jesus

  1. Thank you for your posts ! I love them !
    Great starting my day w/ positive & uplifting words !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your posts ! I love them !
    Great starting my day w/ positive & uplifting words !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, and thanks for reading, Mary!


  3. And in all truth, it is so hard to find a good cave to crawl into nowadays!

    Liked by 1 person

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