A Second Chance


A coward, a blowhard, a bigot! A hero, a peacemaker, a martyr! An utter failure and an effective, powerful communicator! It might be hard to believe that all these words describe the same man. His story began when he loaned his fishing boat to a new young teacher from Nazareth. His story ended, according to tradition, when he was crucified upside down. Between those points in his lifeline, Simon Peter traveled from the emotional peak on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17; Mark 9; Luke 9) to the deep and desperate valley of his denial at the trials of Jesus (Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22). Yes, he did preach that great sermon at Pentecost, but he is most remembered for that one fateful night when he denied that he even knew Jesus. When that rooster crowed, Peter saw the sunrise through tears of regret and despair.

Mark’s account of that event hints that Peter withdrew from the apostolic band, perhaps feeling unworthy and beyond forgiveness. But on that glorious Resurrection Morning, the angel had a special message for the three women who found the open tomb. “Go tell His disciples and Peter (emphasis mine) He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him…” (Mark 16:7). It was a message of forgiveness and restoration. It was a second chance for a broken, humbled Peter.

He was in good company. Peter was just one of a much larger group who had learned first-hand that Yahweh/God is a God of second chances. Abraham was liar, Jacob was deceiver, Moses was a murderer, David was an adulterer and a murderer. Jonah was a bigot, Solomon was a polygamist, and Saul/Paul was a persecutor of the Church. All learned that God is a God of second, and sometimes third chances.

These biblical examples serve as powerful evidence that no one is beyond God’s reach. It matters not what you have been or done in your life. The God of second chances reaches out offering forgiveness, restoration, and new life in Christ Jesus. How is this possible? The apostle John tells us in his first letter: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have One Who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:1-2) Whatever you have been or done, God reaches out to offer another chance at abundant eternal life. As the old hymn says, “reach out to Jesus, He’s reaching out to you!” As Peter said in his second sermon (Acts 3:19), “Therefore repent and turn, so your sins may be wiped away, and time of refreshing will come from the Presence of the Lord.”