If I could sit down with you for a cup of tea on this Tuesday following Easter, I’d tell you several things about the three-part glimpse into the life of Peter that we shared with you during Resurrection weekend. In the series, I introduced you to two charcoal fires, which served as bookends for a story about one man’s struggle to see who he was in Christ. The first fire represented the trio of denials Peter uttered in the courtyard of the high priest as Jesus was being interrogated and ultimately sentenced to death upon a Roman cross. The second fire stood testimony to the unconditional love and acceptance Peter received in his encounter with the risen Savior.
Sandwiched between the charcoal fires, Peter wept long over his failures and fears as he wrestled with questions we too have likely asked at times in our lives. On Sunday, I introduced you to a moment veiled in mystery, but one that freed Peter from the burden of shame causing him to hide. He enjoyed a private meeting with the resurrected Lord and came to see that, no matter what he had done or would do in the future, he was fully loved and accepted. A peace that can only come from an encounter with Jesus now characterized Peter’s life. I challenged you to remember in your own private moments with the risen Lord that you too are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ with His mercy, peace and love multiplied in your life (Jude 1-2).
Yesterday, I wrapped up the series around the charcoal fire kindled on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus had three years prior called Peter to follow Him. At this fire, Jesus affirmed that ordination, and we saw a new Peter, one who encountered the risen Lord and who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, would lead Jesus’ people to proclaim the Good News about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
I encourage you to read more about Peter’s life by turning to the book of Acts and finding every mention of Peter. Note how Peter’s identity as one loved, called, and kept in Christ Jesus now pushed him forward into uncomfortable situations. You can also read the letters he wrote to early believers. Note how his life was transformed and how he no longer hid from man’s questions and accusations, but how, in the power of the Holy Spirit, he boldly declared his friendship with the Savior of the world.
If we were sitting face-to-face today, I’d encourage you to consider the charcoal fire bookends in your own life — who you were before your encounter with the risen Lord and who you are now. I would ask you if you are still wrestling with your identity as one loved, called, and kept by the Savior of the world, and if so, I would tell you that you’re not alone.
While we cannot yet meet for tea, I’d love to chat with you, pray for you, and send you a few of my favorite verses about who we are as children of God. Many of these verses have helped me on my own journey of seeing myself as Jesus sees me. Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll send you this resource. Also, I’d like to encourage you to join our In His Image study to explore ten attributes of God that we are called to reflect.
Until then, Dear Ones, many blessings as you walk with the risen Lord. You are loved. You are called. And you are forever kept.