Our epistle for this week is 1 Peter 3:18-22.
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you— not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
Peter is a first-person resource for the subject of forgiveness. This brash disciple who claimed he would follow Jesus to death didn’t even make it past the challenge of those who recognized him as one of Jesus’ followers, denying that he even knew Him. This failure was crushing, but Peter was repentant and Christ forgave him.
This is what Jesus came to teach us and do for us. He is well aware of our human frailty and our tendency to put ourselves first. Through His love and lessons we see that He always put others first, being willing to die that we may live eternally.
Jesus understands when we are embarrassed, pressured and afraid. Peter experienced all of these and although his first response was failure, it was not his final response. Jesus teaches us that even though we fail, through repentance we can be forgiven and restored.
Loving Lord, we bring our brokenness to You for relief and release. Help us to see that You came to overcome our wrongdoing and lead us to reconciliation with God. Amen.