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What Lesson Can Christians Learn from Peter's Denial and Restoration to the Faith?

With Holy Week in mind, it's probably time to move from the daily pattern of reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in their proper order to moving forward (or backward) to the four Gospel accounts that talk about Jesus' arrest and crucifixion. You can read Peter's denial in Matthew 26:33-35, Mark 14:29-31, Luke 22:33-34 and the John 13:36-38.

It's very easy to say, "Lord I will never fail you." But Jesus' reply was that before the crow will crow twice, Peter will deny Him thrice. Mark gives the account of the first crowing and the second crowing while the other three accounts talk of only the final crowing. The crowing of the rooster happens twice was during 12:00 A.M. to 3:00 A.M. and the morning watch was around 3:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M. There is no contradiction to that. It's easy to be arrogant in the flesh and to think highly of one's self. Peter thought that he was self-sufficient. I even wonder did Peter even think that he was capable by his own? Did Peter forget that everything great that a Christian does is by God's power? Jesus already warned His disciples in John 15:1-8 that apart from Him you can do nothing. Peter thought he won't deny Christ but he soon did. Thrice he was asked if he knew Jesus and thrice he said he didn't know him out of fear.

Why would Jesus allow Peter to commit the mistake not once but thrice? Jesus knew it would happen and he could prevent it. Instead, he allowed Peter to fall into that mistake for a good reason. I guess it's to humble Peter. Peter thought he would always be faithful but Jesus proved him wrong. When that happened Peter wept bitterly and confessed his sin. It was a humbling experience for Peter. That experience was probably to teach Peter that only through God's grace can a believer have any power against sin. If the believer decides to trust in their flesh then they are bound to fail. That's what Peter learned the hard way.

John 21 also shows the restoration of Peter. Peter already screwed up by denying Jesus thrice. He's a pastor but him and the deacons went fishing. These verses strike me the most:
John 21:15-17 
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

It's a thrilling thought that Jesus asked Peter thrice "Lovest thou me more than these?" Peter denied Christ thrice. Jesus asked that question thrice. Peter had every right to be grieved because he denied Christ thrice. Yet Jesus still kept saying, "Feed my sheep." three times. Peter had backslid horribly as a pastor. When a pastor backslides so do the deacons. Yet Peter was still restored to his office as a pastor. Peter was restored from his backsliding so he could do the work Jesus wanted him to do - to be a new Testament pastor. Acts 2 reveals how Peter preached the first sermon as the first ordained pastor of the New Testament church.

This reveals that it's very important for pastors to rely on God's grace and for the congregation to pray for their pastor. Jesus prayed for Peter when He said:
Luke 22:32 
But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

This is also a pattern that the congregation ought to pray for their God-ordained pastor that he may not fall into grievous error. Jesus prayed for Peter that the latter's faith will fail not. He also encouraged Peter to strengthen the brethren. All this is only possible by God's grace. Peter couldn't be the Rock because he was just a small rock. Instead, Jesus is the Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4) and because He is the Rock the gates of Hell cannot prevail against the Church. Peter couldn't be strengthened against the gates of Hell except through the the grace of God.

I would believe that Paul also had Peter in mind when he wrote this epistle saying:
1 Timothy 3:1-7 
This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Jesus trained Peter through the three years of ministry. Peter was married. No, Peter didn't leave his life but instead brought her along (1 Corinthians 9:5). It would be inconceivable if Peter divorced his wife to become the first Pope to which he isn't. Peter was a husband of one wife. He desired a good work. He had to be trained so he could fulfill his good work. Peter had to be cleaned up because he was pretty impulsive. But did Peter become a qualified pastor by his own power? No, it's the grace of God. Peter should have been disqualified from his office but Jesus restored him. Pastors ordained by God will fall down if they become arrogant like Peter. But there's still the comfort that God doesn't only offer forgiveness for sins but also cleansing and sanctification from them to make the man of God ready to do the job God has assigned to him.

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