The most tender and powerful examples of grace come from watching how the Lord God re-qualified the disqualified time and time again throughout His Word; those very followers of His that knew better than to disobey, had been touched and blessed by Him repeatedly, yet still fell into and yielded to temptation, denial, lust, greed, and more. Moses, David, Miriam, the Jewish tribes, the woman caught in adultery, and the list goes on.
Our Lord continued to renew His mercies toward them every morning as evidenced in dozens of examples.
Would we be so kind to exercise that same benevolent spirit extending without reserve that olive branch toward another after the sorrow of small and even horrific blunders and betrayals against us personally? Would we be willing to lift the head of one that feels they are beyond use in the world of ministry ever again? Would we feed them, replenish their feeling of worth, exchange deep conversation, and give them a mission to reinstate their position with us and others?
To me the most moving example of this hand of mercy and grace is the restoration of Peter with Jesus after the betrayal of our Savior as the time of critical mass. The exchange of words and actions after the resurrection on the sea shore one morning when the disciples were fishing in the sea of Galilee … give us details of the formerly fallen Peter and His renewed relationship with Christ.
Can you imagine how Peter felt when he looked across the water to the shore and recognized His Savior waiting for Him perhaps gesturing to them to come closer as their nets were drawing miraculous amounts of that day’s reward from the sea? The guilt mixed with joy mixed with self hatred mixed with and thirst to hear that Jesus truly loved him and forgave him?
Never once do we see Jesus holding Peter’s sin over his head, revisiting the anguish of that famous betrayal, and never once do we see the other disciples chastised when technically they all abandoned their rabbi, teacher, best friend, counselor, and leader at his moment of death, and all undeserved. Never once do we see ANY of the disciples having come to the defense of Him during His pre-crucifixion trial, torture and beatings … yet Christ still restored them all, only mindful that they were fallen human children of His.
Put yourself into the shoes of Peter and feel his delight to see Christ risen again, and imbibe in the feeling of undeserved washing of Words of Jesus as he fed him and the rest of the disciples, loved him, and assigned him a life long critical task of feeding His sheep … From then on it is only evident that the disciples truly began their journey of maturity as we see their growth in their writing and examples of their changed lives which proved their repentance and gave way to the future of the Word being shared for centuries to come. Only after full forgiveness and a reconciliation with the One Who empowered them did they live a life sold out to the Father and possess a heart filled with gratitude due to that restoration.
The Lord has been benevolent beyond anything I could ever endeavor to deserve not only with His merciful hand toward me when least deserved, but also by the obedient loving leadership I have served with and under for decades now. What an example for me to never hold a grudge or manipulate another person due to their indiscretions and shortcomings. But for the grace of God there go I, and there have I gone many times … so I am without excuse to ever trample on the heart of the Lord with sin willfully yet when I do with my sin, He kindly and gently gives me that seventy times seven reservoir of grace and never stops pursuing me as I long to pursue Him and His righteousness.
John 21: 4 – 24, “Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Jesus Reinstates Peter
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”