Summary: Part two focuses on Forgiveness.
After The Resurrection Part 2
This morning I want to continue with Part 2 of my message “After The Resurrection”. Last week I shared with you that the first thing that became available after the resurrection was joy. The disciples upon learning and understanding that Jesus had risen from the dead returned to Jerusalem full of joy and praising God continually. Before they came to this point they had been scared, worried and in hiding. What would have caused such a drastic change in their behavior? Knowing that Jesus had risen from the dead is what caused the change. So their fears, concerns and worries were replaced by joy and a new boldness to go out and witness. Joy was the first “recognizable” thing that came after the resurrection. This morning I will focus on the second and most important thing which is forgiveness.
I want you to take a moment and think about the most horrible thing you could do. This thing, if done, could cost you your self respect, your self esteem and your total reputation if you did it and it was discovered. Think about how embarrassed you would feel. Think about what you family and friends would say about you. Can you see this now? Now imagine that after it became known everyone read about it in the newspaper with your face plastered across the front page with the act that you had committed. Imagine how you would feel when you saw people on the street and they were holding a paper with your picture on the front page. After you paid the penalty for your crime (whether that’s jail time or a fine), would you expect to be treated the same by those that love you? Would expect to be treated the same by your former co-workers or by potential new employers? It is a sad fact that when your dirty laundry is aired out before the public, there is a change in how you are perceived and treated from that point on. Even if you were innocent, some would continue to question your innocence.
This morning we will look at the forgiveness that was given after the resurrection to man who was absolutely and for certain guilty of the crime he was accused of. The man that we will focus on this morning is the disciple Peter. Before we get to the incident of his failure, we must first go back and examine some the Peter prior to his “fall from grace” as some would phrase it. Let’s start with his calling. Matthew 4:18 records the following: “And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.” Peter was a fisherman; a trade that required long hours and a vast understanding of the sea. He was a man whom many of the religious leaders would have turned their nose up at. When Jesus called him he stopped what he was doing and followed Him, no questions asked.
As Peter began his spiritual growth under the guidance of the Master, his personality began to rise to the service. He became one of the more outspoken leaders of the group. Matthew 14:22-33 records the incident when Peter walked on the water. Jesus had sent His disciples to the other side of the water so that He could be alone to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea. About three o’clock in the morning (the fourth watch started at 3 a.m.) Jesus decided to walk out on the water and catch up with the disciples. When they saw Him coming they immediately became scared and cried out as they thought He was a ghost. But Jesus identified Himself and told them to be of good cheer. Now Peter steps into the picture. Matthew 14:28-31 records the following: “And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Many sermons have been preached about Peter taking his eyes off Jesus and began to sink, but we must admit that he most definitely walked on the water for a little while and I want you to consider what made him do it? He knew it was Jesus – he had no doubts. I mean what idiot would ask a stranger (or ghost for that matter) to allow them the power to walk on water. He had spent enough time with Jesus that by this time he easily recognized Jesus’ voice. When he knew it was Him, he wanted to experience what it was like to walk on water. Think about it. He was a fisherman who had previously made his living on the water. How many nights when it was quiet did he dream and think about what it would be like to walk on the water. This was his opportunity to fulfill a possible dream of his and he was not going to pass it up. While everyone else had no intentions of leaving that boat, Peter saw it as an opportunity. Once again, he demonstrated that at Jesus command, he was willing to step out there and be bold. He was willing to do what the others would not. He was willing to go where no man had gone before (besides Jesus). After this incident, Peter’s faith really began to grow. Turn to Matthew 16:13-20.