Second chances. We all need them. Often I think that if I only I had a time machine, I could go back and right the wrong choices that I made in my past. Sadly, we cannot go back, but we can go forward and learn from our mistakes; making wiser choices with the opportuni:es that life brings our way. Last week we reflected on the Apostle Peter’s struggles with his failures and how Jesus pushed him to be 100% committed to the future that God had laid before him.
Simon had been nicknamed ‘petros’ (Greek for Peter) which means ‘rock’ or ‘stone’. Jesus called his friend ‘rocky’ or ‘the rock’, but when his strength of character and his bravado failed him, Peter felt like more like a tiny pebble than the leader on which Jesus would build his church. The experience of humiliation and then restoration had made a big impact on Peter’s life. Where he had felt worthless and useless he discovered the transforming power of Jesus mercy and compassion that set his life back on the path that would lead him to follow in his Lord’s footsteps for the rest of his days.
Peter had gone from a zero in his own opinion to a hero of the faith…small steps at first – but in the power of the Holy Spirit he would become bold and fearless. Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear my voice, they know me and they follow’ (John 10:27). That’s what he did; he listened and followed and was often challenged to do things that were way outside his comfort zone. Like today’s story from Act 9:36-43, where Peter was asked to come and pray for a believer by the name of Tabitha who had died. Without hesita:on Peter went. Peter had seen Jesus bring people back from the dead before and he also had heard Jesus say that those who would follow him would not only do what he had done, but do even greater things (John 14:12).
I imagine that Peter would have felt somewhat daunted by the request, but he was confident that Jesus could do it through him and that’s all that mattered. So he prayed and God acted, because Peter was acting according to God’s will. Tabitha was restored to life and the everyone in Joppa heard about and the good news about Jesus. Peter would have been hailed a hero; but deep down he knew that it was not him…he knew the power of Jesus love to change lives – to restore purpose and direction, to bring fulfilment and ignite hope.
Like Peter, we can all follow in the footsteps of Jesus. We can leave our past failures behind and do what Jesus did – bring the message of the ‘good news’ to all who will accept it. Knowing how much Jesus has done for you is often the catalyst for us to be willing to accept all that Jesus has in store. Yes, we fail when we do things in our own strength…but we succeed when we do things God’s way!
In that we can be confident.