Summary: the restoration offered to Peter after teh resurrection is available to everyone.
April 8, 2007
Intro: What is the bottom line of the resurrection?
The purpose of the resurrection of Christ is restoration.
The death and resurrection of Jesus was given for us in order to restore our relationship to God once and for all.
There are many factors in our lives that lead to broken relationship with God: doubt, fear, failure, sin. All of these are aspects that separate us from the heart of our heavenly Father.
“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” Colossians 1:22 (NIV)
Today we want to look at the restoration of a man who literally denied Christ. It wasn’t just an attitude or a thought, it was a three time verbal and curse filled denial of even knowing Jesus.
Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends. He is often mentioned as one of the inner circle of Jesus who accompanies him on special occasions and does some amazing things. Peter is mentioned as one of the first disciples to follow Jesus.
“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.” Mark 1:16-18 (NIV)
Peter walked on water.
"Lord, if it’s you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29 "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Matthew 14:28-30 (NIV)
Peter is the first to acknowledge who Jesus is, and is given a special assignment by Jesus.
"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:15-18 (NIV)
Peter defended Jesus at his arrest.
“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" John 18:10-11 (NIV)
Peter denied Jesus three times.
“Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in. 17 "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, "I am not." 18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself. As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it, saying, "I am not." 26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, "Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?" 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.” John 18:15-18; 25-27 (NIV)
What do you think was going through Peter’ mind? How would Peter ever overcome this great tragedy? Would forgiveness be the reward for everyone but Peter?
Can you relate? Do you feel like your life is so overwhelmed with mistakes and sin that forgiveness and restoration are out of the question for you?
The joy we celebrate today is that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to bring us new life. And that life is for anyone who chooses to receive it.
When Peter received the new that Jesus had risen form the grave and when he had seen the empty tomb for himself, do you think that he was thinking for receiving forgiveness or judgment from Jesus?
There is a very small verse that we mostly overlook in the Easter story, but it drives home the point of the resurrection for us.
Jesus has risen form the dead. He has made himself known to the disciples and he encounters two very discouraged disciples on a road outside of Jerusalem. He tells them of all the things that have happened and how he is the Messiah. When they recognize him, they return to Jerusalem and find the other disciples. This is the final part of their report.