Matthew 26:33 – Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. (KJV)
How many times we have said, "I'll never do that again!" Personally, I've lost count.
Most recently, I shot off my mouth to someone without thinking it through. I never meant what I said to be offensive, but it was. A stern rebuke followed, forcing me to eat my words. Horrified, I fell to my knees asking my Saviour's forgiveness, then I penned a note of apology to the person offended. A potential rift was mended.
Once again, I said, "I'll never do that again." Sadly, I probably will, not because I want to, but because I tend to speak, write, do, before thinking it through — a bit like Simon Peter.
Jesus' friend and follower, Simon, nicknamed Peter, the Rock, or Rocky, was a lot like that. He shot off his mouth, often acting on impulse, before he thought things through. In today's scripture, he bragged he'd never, ever be offended or forsake Christ Jesus — but he was and he did. Right afterwards, he lobbed off the ear of a servant of the High Priest — an attention-drawing deed. Then he impulsively bolted. Later, he decided to see what was going to become of Jesus. So he followed behind at a distance — again, an act not well considered. Of course, he was recognized, causing him to deny that he ever knew Jesus, much less followed Him, not just once, but three times. He lied. He denied. He disowned Jesus — impulsively.
Thank God, that's not the end of the story. The Apostle John relates the following account.
After Jesus' resurrection, impulsive Simon had gone fishing and caught nothing. At dawn, when they were rowing to shore, Jesus called from the shoreline, asking if they had any fish. Then He told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. The nets held, but filled with so many fish that they ought to have burst. Rowing towards shore, Simon's friend, John, recognized Jesus — causing Simon to leap from the boat and swim to Christ — another impulsive act — but this time with a good outcome. Jesus confronted Simon, then forgave him.
John 21:15,19b – 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. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. (KJV)
When Jesus said, "Follow me", those were the same two words He had used when Peter first began to walk with Christ.
Many of us ought to be able to relate. Even if we don't act impulsively now, we likely did as teenagers. Then with experience, we outgrew it. But Simon Peter did not, nor have some of us. Like Peter, when we first began to follow Christ, we skipped along, acting, speaking, and doing without always thinking. Now as we mature in faith, Jesus says, "Do you love me more than anything else?" When we answer, "Yes, Lord, You know that we love You", then He calls us with the same two words He said to Peter: "Follow me."
Prayer: Lord God, we would thoughtfully follow You. Forgive us for thoughtless words, actions, or deeds that have wounded others — and Your holy name. Enable us to change, for that is our desire. Enable us to love You more than anything or anyone else. Enable us to hear Your call to us to follow You — and to do it. For we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.