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Some people may think of God as someone who might change His mind at any time about whether He will be merciful.

But if you follow Jesus, you can EXPECT forgiveness from your heavenly Father! No need to doubt or question or worry.

Look at Psalm 86:5 (NKJV):

For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

When my wife, Janet, and I visited Israel, we spent some time in the house of Caiaphas and his courtyard where Peter denied that he knew Jesus.

It made me think a lot about Peter. He does really well as a disciple until Mark 14:30 when Jesus basically says, “Look, before the rooster crows, you’re going to deny Me three times.”

Peter replies, “Even if everybody else does that, I never will.” But that night in the courtyard of their opponent, Peter denies three times that he knows who Jesus is.

When the rooster crows, Peter goes out and weeps bitterly. I’m sure he’s thinking, Jesus will never want to see me again. I can’t keep it together for even this long. I know the truth and I don’t live it. I’m such a hypocrite.

But after the resurrection, as you’ll read in Mark 16:7, the angel advises the women: “Go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him.”

So the women tell the disciples, “We saw Jesus. He says to go into Galilee, and He will see you there.”

I can imagine Peter waiting for the women to add, “But not you, Peter.” He must have been thinking, You’re kidding. I’m still invited? I’m such a wretch, but He’s giving me another chance!

So they go into Galilee to wait for Jesus.

But then one evening, Peter says to the disciples, “I’m going fishing.”

Now it sounds like he’s just going to go out and catch dinner, but when you read this story from John 21 in the Greek language, “fishing” is an infinitive verb. Peter essentially says, “I’m going back to my fishing business.”

The other disciples follow him. They fish all night and catch nothing. But then, standing on the shore is Jesus, who tells them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. When they do, it suddenly fills up with an enormous catch of large fish.

When they’re back on the beach, Jesus says to Peter, “Do you love Me more than these?”

Now, He doesn’t motion to the disciples. Instead, Jesus points to the massive catch of fish flopping on the shore, and He says in essence: “Peter, do you love Me more than these? Do you really love this stuff more than Me?”

Then Jesus tells him three times, “Feed My sheep.” Despite all that Peter had done—his denial, his fear, his inclination to return to his old life—Jesus forgives Peter and reinforces Peter’s calling to feed God’s people and help the Church to grow.

Let me tell you, just as Jesus forgave and reinstated Peter, your heavenly Father is ready to forgive you. There’s no reason for you to feel worried or anxious that He may change His mind about that. He’s full of mercy, full of forgiveness. Forgiving is one of the many good things that our Father does that we can expect.

See more of how God’s undeserved favor and forgiveness can change your life—request Bayless’ booklet “Turning Mistakes into Miracles” as well as his message “What You Can Expect from God as Your Father” on CD, DVD, or MP3 as thanks for your gift today.

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Dr. med. Friedrich Methfessel says:

    Dear Bayless,

    I think Peter is critically misunderstood (well…that is what my mother taught me and she convinced me!)
    Consider: Peter was always hotheaded in protecting Jesus. (Matthew 16:22, John 18:10). Peter was the only disciple even close to the grounds when Jesus was imprisoned. How audacious he was!
    In his hotheadedness Peter thought that there was some way to save the earthly life of Jesus: some exuberant, miraculous, daring plot. Denying Jesus three times was trying to gain time in his inconclusive stratagem, lacking any concept or plan. Just save Jesus!
    With the third crow of the rooster he finally understood that Jesus death was inevitable. Whatever he would try was futile. Jesus knew it and had told him: Peter now had to face the fact. That is why he wept bitterly!
    Peter did not deny Jesus. He was suffused and blinded with the hope to save his Lord.
    Peter was exceptionell in the love of the Lord.
    I think my mother is right. „History“ has to be rewritten.

    Love,

    Friedrich

    Thank you so much for your sermons to bring us closer to Jesus.
    I have met you personally in Germany twice. I will be ever grateful for your understanding guidance.
    If I knew I could have a few personal minutes with you in California it would be my hope to fly over (after COVID-19). I have so many questions and need support.

    • Team BC says:

      Hi Friedrich, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. In Matthew 26:34, Jesus Himself said to Peter, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”

      We’re so glad you had the opportunity to meet Pastor Bayless at one of his events in Germany. As of now, he is planning to return to your country in the fall: https://baylessconley.tv/live-events. Please let us know when you’re planning a trip to California, we look forward to welcoming you at Cottonwood Church. God bless you! -Team BC

  • Mayne says:

    Reminded me of how many times i go back to my old stuffs..But God is so patient with me.
    Peter denied Jesus, as we also deny Him when we get into sinning..
    Peter defended Jesus and the other disciples through out their journey but eventually he also was deceieved by the devil through fears, persecution and death, he forget what he said before ” You are the Son of the Living God”.not peter learned from man,but God shown to him.
    And also
    I think, maybe Peter cant believe that Jesus, our savior will put into death.
    Mat 16:21-23
    He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man’.

    I love how Jesus turned my life upside down and inside out.’
    Jesus gave me many chances! And now i can say i’m a follower of Jesus!
    The love that i know before is different from now, loving someone without the love of God in you is not love,.God loves us so we can love others, as like God blessed us to be a blessings!
    As I follow Jesus, i began to open my eyes through the lens of hope and faith ” that as long as i live or die, i belong to Jesus
    #JesusSaves

    • Team BC says:

      Amen, Mayne! Thank you for sharing this with us! “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” (Psalm 86:5) Many blessings to you! -Team BC

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