Links Daily Devotional

Failure and Grace

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. (1 Corinthians 15:3-5, NIV)

Arnold. Tiger. Annika. Nancy. Iconic professional golfers who are known around the world—no last names needed. It happens when these athletes capture our affections for what feel like supernatural achievements. Two things happen simultaneously when these golfers are elevated to this legendary status. We (as their fans and critics) expect a perfect performance every time they tee it up, and we give an endless supply of grace when their performance or choices fail.

By the world’s standards, there was no reason Jesus should have welcomed Peter back into his circle.Simon. Cephas. Peter. Three names for the same man—no last name needed. One of the first disciples Jesus invited into his fold: “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter)” (John 1:42 ESV). Jesus took responsibility for Peter the moment he named him Cephas, in all of the disciple’s glorious moments and all of his failures.

We read a lot about Peter in all four Gospels. Peter had moments where he utterly recognized Jesus as the son of the living God. And Jesus responded: “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18 ESV). Then on the other extreme, Peter had a heartbreaking failure when he denied Jesus three times. “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter… And he (Peter) went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:61-62 ESV).

Peter had the confidence to step out of the boat and walk on the water, but he got afraid and sank in doubt. Peter asked great questions, and he made declarations that were beyond his reach: “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22 ESV).

Do you ever feel like Peter? Living in extremes. I do. One moment I can be on a mountaintop with my heart full of faith, and then without warning, I go tumbling down into the valley of doubt. I have endured a season of wrestling with doubt as of late. It feels like a trick candle that never goes out when you try and blow on it.

What I love about today’s scripture passage is this: “…and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the twelve.” By the world’s standards, there was no reason Jesus should have welcomed Peter back into his circle. But because of his immeasurable grace, Jesus not only appeared to Peter, he also cooked him a fish breakfast on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus reinstated Cephas, the rock on which he would build his church. And through is failures, Peter became one to contend with in the kingdom of God.

Today I am reminded that our messy failures do not slam the door on our hope in Christ. Jesus knows our name—no last name needed. And he is extending an invitation to eat at his table of grace.

Tracy Hanson
May 11, 2017
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