Teaching Session 1

Teaching Session 2

Teaching Session 3


Devotional

In Matthew 16, we read about Peter.  The Pharisees and Sadducees are asking for signs from heaven to prove He is the Messiah.  They don't care about the healing that has taken place.  They don't care that he fed 4000 people with 7 loaves of bread and a few fish.  They want more.  But when Christ asks the disciples who they say he is, Peter announces, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”  Peter believed, and he stood firmly on the truth, the rock. 

But in chapter 26, when Jesus is arrested, Peter flees the rock for the sand, and he denies Christ three times.  Peter hides while his friend is being beaten.  He gets scared, because that's what we do.  We're weak.  The one moment that counts, when all eyes are on him and he can make a difference, and he gets stage fright.  He chokes. 

How many times have we done that?  If you’re anything like me, this is something that is a daily battle. 

Before Peter was called by Christ, he was a fisherman.  That was what he knew.  He was good at it, and he was comfortable there.  Peter, probably still disappointed in himself, mad because of his human limitations, decides he's going back to something he knows, to a place where he feels worthy of being, right,  because how could Christ love him after he denied him?  So Peter decides to go fishing.

Remember, that this is how Christ found Peter in the first place.  Peter had been fishing and was washing his nets, when the Lord told him to pull out into deep water for a catch, but Peter was tired, and his back probably hurt, and He told Jesus, “I've been fishing all night and haven't caught anything, but if you want me to go back out, I will.”  When he did, Peter caught so many fish that his nets began to break.  He then recognized that this was Jesus.  Christ told him to follow him, and Peter did.  Until the day he denies him three times.  

And now, Peter probably thought he’s blown it.  We know how that feels, right?  When you know someone is counting on you, when they want to know you've got their back, and you let them down.  And then you aren't sure where you stand with them, if the damage is too great to be repaired? 

So Peter, suffocating from his guilt, goes back to the only thing he feels worthy of – his old life.  And we see that Christ asks him, “have you caught anything?”  Same scene, take two.  He tells Peter to cast his nets on the other side.  Peter does, and he hauls in payday number two.  Peter jumps in and swims a hundred yards to get to Jesus.

Christ gave him a do-over.  He provided a beautiful restoration of his guilt-ridden friend.  He does that for us, too.  He does not hold our sin against us but gives us a new chance.  He tells us, “You don't have to start again for me; I'll start over with you.”  You messed up, but that was then.  This is now.

Even when we stumble, Jesus is always ready to begin again with us.   

Scripture

  • John 21:1-19
 

Lyrics

(Mark Hall, Matthew West)

Standing at the water’s edge
I dropped my dreams when I dropped my nets
No hesitation, no regrets
I followed You
But that was then
And this is now

You washed my feet and You changed my name
I swore I’d never be the same
But just like the tides, I guess people change
‘Cause that was then
And this is now

I wish I could go back but I don’t know how
I remember when I stood my ground
I swore I’d never let You down
I want to be that man again
But that was then
And this is now

I watched a blind man lift his head
And look his Savior in the eyes
I heard a dead man take a breath
Dropped to my knees as I watched him rise
And I felt the sea beneath my feet
As I stepped out on the angry waves
But You saw the storm raging within
You reached out and calmed me then
But this is now

Just when I thought my sin had closed the door
I see my Savior standing on the shore
With arms wide open
Just like the first time You called my name
You said that was then
And this is now

My child, I bore your cross, I wore your crown
When you couldn’t come to Me, My love came down
So take My hand, I’ll lead you out
‘Cause that was then
And this is now

My child, I bore your cross, I wore your crown
You couldn’t come to Me so My love came down
Take My hand, I’ll lead you out
You’ll never be that man again
‘Cause that was then
And this is now

© 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Songs for Emily Music Publishing (ASCAP)

About the Song

“This is the first song I wrote for the record and it’s really important to me. It’s to help people understand what God’s forgiveness looks like. I was in the office with a girl named Stephanie, who was about to go to college. She was scared to death that she didn’t belong to God because she couldn’t figure it out when it officially happened and she was questioning her salvation. We were walking through it and I kept asking her questions until she started sharing, ‘I just fail too much and I don’t see how God can stay with somebody who messes up like I do.’ Your logic will tell you that you’re on strike two, but you’re not. You’re His and if you belong to God, you are always His.”