NCF Church (now One Life Church) staff meeting notes by Martin Berndt, compiled by S. Mahabeer.
In Matthew 26: 47- 49, we read of Judas betraying Jesus: “While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.”
Further on, in Matthew 26: 69 – 74, we read of another betrayal: Peter denies even knowing Jesus: “69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” 74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken : “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.”
Although both men betrayed Jesus, there are still major differences in their betrayals.
- Judas never made the transition from Jesus being a teacher to Jesus being LORD. Peter, however, declared Jesus to be the “Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (see Matt. 16:16)
- Peter loved Jesus, whereas Judas did not.
Jesus was able to work with Peter, because there was a deposit of love for Jesus in his heart. Jesus was able to work with that, no matter how much or how bad Peter had messed up.
In John 21, Peter goes back to where he came from. In essence, he backslides. Furthermore, some of the other disciples follow him.
The influence we have when we backslide or step back is huge.
The men go back to their old way of life and as they try to pick up where they had left, they only find emptiness (John 21:3).
In a backslidden state you find nothing.
In the morning, Jesus shows up at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1). As soon as John recognizes Jesus (John 21:7), Peter springs into action, and swims to shore where he meets with the resurrected LORD.
In the conversation that follows (see John 21: 15- 19), Jesus asks Peter three times: “Peter, do you love me?”
Even after all Peter had done wrong and denied and betrayed Jesus, the LORD knew Peter’s heart and He knew that Peter loved Him. Jesus loves to work with the deposits of love.
Three times Jesus asked, because He really wanted to put His finger on the heart of the matter.
The third time Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, Peter feels hurt. He breaks down, but in his brokenness his love for Jesus is truly revealed. “Lord you know all things. You know I love you.”
This is the moment, this is the key, when Jesus can look in and see our heart. This is when it is revealed that beyond our betrayal, our denial, our mess- ups, our failures and our backslidden state there still is a deposit of love for Jesus.
Sometimes we can look across a congregation and see that the love has diminished.
But the Holy Spirit wants to breathe on that and bring forth the love again.
The moment Jesus said to Peter “Feed my sheep”, that was the moment of responsibility, involvement, incorporation and forgiveness. Everything was found in that love for Jesus.
It is out of that deposit of our love for Jesus that He gives us incredible ministry opportunities and the privilege of serving our King.
All we need is a deposit of love for Jesus and He will do the rest.
feature image acknowledgment: survivingthechaos.blogspot.com