Summary: Have you ever done something you immediately regretted? I remember things that I had done when I was younger, things that I wish I had never done, and things I wish I could take back. I have said things I wish I had never said that hurt other people.
Moving Beyond Regret; Matthew 26:67-75
Have you ever done something you immediately regretted? I remember things that I had done when I was younger, things that I wish I had never done, and things I wish I could take back. I have said things I wish I had never said that hurt other people.
Maybe you have blurted out a biting response to someone you love, or made an angry comment to a friend, maybe you’ve cheated on a test, cut a corner, or did something that hurt a co-worker. Whatever it was, you knew it was wrong and you wished you could undo it. You wish you could go back and change things. I think we can all admit we have said or done something that we regretted.
That must have been what Peter felt just after denying Christ 3 times. The night before Jesus had warned Peter about what was to come (You will deny me 3 times before the rooster crows), but Peter didn’t think he would never do such a thing. Yet here he was, having just denied Christ 3 times. It was the darkest moment in Peter’s life – a time of pain, disappointment and regret.
Yet the good news of the gospel is that the story didn’t end there. Peter’s story demonstrates the healing power of forgiveness – power that can make a difference in your life today.
There are some vital truths that we can learn from this episode in Peter’s life.
I. Authentic Forgiveness Follows Repentance
Actually there were two betrayals that night, Peter betrayed Jesus in the courtyard and Judas betrayed Jesus in the garden with a kiss for thirty pieces of silver. Matthew 27:1-5 shows us that Judas realized what he had done, he was very sorry, he was filled with guilt and as a result he went and committed suicide. Without a doubt there was a great deal of regret, but no repentance.
By contrast, look at what Peter does as he realizes what he has done: Vs. 75, “He went outside and wept bitterly.” Now his tears alone were not enough, but we know from observing the rest of his life that these were tears of repentance. He was truly upset with himself and he wanted to make things right.
But how do we know these were tears of repentance?
A. Jesus reached out to him - Mark 16:7, “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” Once Peter heard that Jesus had risen from the dead he ran to the tomb and was the first one to go in and examine the scene.
B. Jesus restored him to service (John 21:15-17)
C. Peter’s testimony of the healing power of forgiveness - 1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” Peter knew first hand that there was true forgiveness in Christ.
Are you in need of forgiveness today? If so, the first step in your healing is repentance – recognizing your need and having a sincere desire to make it right. It’s not enough to feel sorry for the things you have done, Judas felt sorry and he gave up.
You must turn from the things you have done and turn to the One who can help you overcome your past failures. And as you admit your sin, believe Jesus is Lord, and commit your life to Him, you can experience the most wonderful forgiveness of all.
II. Authentic Forgiveness Results In A Response
(John 21:15-17) tells us about Jesus’ visit with Peter as they sat together on the shore in the days following the Lords resurrection. Jesus is calling Peter to a life of service for Him.
Notice that He questions Peter 3 times – once for each time Peter denied Christ. That helped Peter understand fully what he had done and allowed him to truly respond to the question that was being asked. And then in humility he says, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” He says Lord you know my heart, you know my failure, you know my sorrow, and you know I love you.
Once Peter confessed his love to the Lord, Jesus said, “Feed my sheep,” in other words he called him to be a shepherd. Now he is fully restored and ready to enter into his role as a leader of the church.
When we have truly experienced forgiveness, it will make a difference in our lives because forgiveness calls for a response. If Christ has forgiven you, how are you demonstrating that in your life?