"...and Brandon..."

But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you." (Mar 16:7 NKJV) "-and Peter-"...these are two of the most beautiful words in scripture. I'll never forget reading it for the first time. I was broken. Honestly, I was a complete mess. These two simple words, though, called me back to wholeness. Peter was brash and impulsive. He was also very committed. Or so he thought. He was always the first to jump into a situation. Jesus walks by on the water and the next thing you know Peter is walking with Him...for a brief moment. Peter was also very human and, like many of us, would look around at the storm in the middle of his miracle. Jesus had warned the disciples of His impending death. Peter had basically rebuked Jesus for the thought bringing Jesus to rebuke Peter. Mar 8:31-3  And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, "Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."  He took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him. That is bold! It is also foolish.It speaks of Peter though and most of us. Maybe I'm alone in this but I am of a mind that most, if not all of us, have rebuked God at some point. Peter goes on later to insist he would never deny Christ. In Mark 14:29 he tells Jesus "Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be." Peter was confident in his walk. He was confident in his commitment. Ultimately, above all else, he was confident in his own character. Pride. Many of us know of it.

Then Jesus is arrested. Peter is recognized. He gets nervous. What will he do? Peter denies Jesus. Not once. Not twice but three times. In Luke 22:61 it says Jesus turned and looked at Peter and Peter was ashamed.

We have all been there. We remember our wrongs. We remember His rights. We are ashamed. How could we? How could we have done the things we've done? Especially in light of what He did...what He did for us! And we are broken. We are lost. How do we come back from our past. In our heart of hearts we know we can't.

A voice calls out though. After Jesus died, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome visited the tomb early in the morning on that third day. The stone sealing the tomb had been rolled away and an angel was in the tomb where Jesus no longer was. The angel tells them Jesus is risen. He then tells them, in Luke 16:7, to go tell "...His disciples-and Peter..." And Peter! Think about that for a minute. Meditate on "and Peter". The Lord knew what Peter had done but He also knew He loved Peter and wasn't going to give up on Him. He wanted Peter to know, specifically, I want you to be a part of this. I'm still with you.

The angels words sound out the redemption of Peter. And me. And you. He might as well have said "...and Brandon...". Surely I have denied Him at times. Maybe not overtly but it is all the same. My shame says I'm not worthy of His love. I'm not worthy of His sacrifice. He calls out to our shame though and says that He still loves us. That He still loves you! He loves you for you. Not what you have or haven't done. It was never about that. It was always about you. It was always about me. It was always about Peter. Ultimately it was always about Christ and His love and His choice to make a way because He knew we never could. He did it because He didn't want to spend eternity without you. Don't let that kind of love go to waste. Accept it and leave your shame behind!

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