The Grace Jar #5

Then there's that whole forgiveness thing ...

There's a verse in the Bible that I think may often be overlooked by many of us.

Here's the story: As "the hour" was upon Jesus, He informed Peter that before the cock crowed, Peter would deny ever knowing Him. Peter, of course, said, "No way! I'll never deny you!"

But, sure enough, Peter denied Jesus ... once ... twice ... and then: A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly (Luke 22: 59 - 62)

Look again at the part I underlined. Unless you read this story from Luke's gospel, you miss it. When Peter denied Jesus for the third and final time, Jesus turned and looked at him.

Was this an "I told you" moment? Or was this a moment that broke Jesus' heart? Was He trying to convey something to Peter that only the Lord can say to His disciple, as there are things He can only say to us?

I believe the look given was one of great sadness. It had come to this ... one disciple betraying Him, another denying that he ever even knew Him.

Peter went away and cried. Bitterly, the Word says. Heartbreaking, soul-wrenching sobs. I know those tears; I have also cried them.

And then ... Jesus was crucified and buried while Peter and all but the apostle John hid away. Until ... Sunday morning when the angel told the women who had come to prepare the Lord's body that He was no longer there. "Tell the disciples," said the angel ... "and tell Peter ..." (Mark 16:7).

Forgiveness was a central issue for Jesus; this was the reason He came. He spoke to those who hardly understood its concept, but He did more than that--He practiced what He preached ... all the way to the Cross. "Forgive them, Father, they don't know what they are doing" (Luke 23: 34) He said as He gasped for breath.

Later, Peter wrote about forgiveness--in other words, he "got it." He had been forgiven and, therefore, he taught others to do that which he had learned to do at the Savior's knee.

In order to refill my Grace Jar, I had ask myself, "Are you harboring unforgiveness? Any at all?"

The answer cut me to the core ...

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