A Word in Passing

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             Barnes Baptist Church

                                               Lonsdale Road, Barnes, London, SW13 9QL






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Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"  John 21:16

    They had all forsaken Jesus, but Peter had not only denied his Lord he had also denied himself. That night he had learnt an aweful truth about himself; he had discovered the kind of person he really was beneath all the bluster and boasting. The image of bravado he had presented to others and the self-belief which had been his driving force had been shattered. His world had fallen apart.

    But now the risen Christ came bringing healing to Peter. Not only is he forgiven, he is also reinstated and recommissioned in a leadership role, to "care for and feed my sheep," John 21: 16-17. It's the offer of and commissioning into a new beginning, and at the heart of Peter's ministry to others there would forever be his own experience of forgiveness. And from that experience there would flow a desire to tell others of the forgiveness they may also receive and experience from God in and through Jesus.

    Have you known, experienced, this forgiveness; this divine love, acceptance and commissioning that is God's offer to each one of us, whoever we are, whatever we have done?

    God sent His Son Jesus into the world for Peter, for me and for you. But it's only once our superficial layers are stripped away, only when we know ourselves for what we truly are, only when we know we need God's forgiveness, that God can deal with us. The heart must be open, the need must be felt. We must come to Jesus or allow Him to come to us - and then God will graciously do the rest; giving us a new beginning, giving us His peace, His hope, taking up the pieces of our shattered life and making something, someone, new.

Peter never forgot that encounter. It changed his life and through him the lives of many others. And Jesus promises us nothing less.

                                                                                                                       Graham Pulham

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