My best friend, now in heaven, was a wonderful history teacher in Worthington, Ohio for many years. If you had been able to visit his classroom, there you would have seen a
teacher desk and to its right, a chair. In that chair was a full-sized replica of a human skeleton. Around its neck was a sign which read, "George talked." Such was his great way to handle discipline with a little humor.
Well I have a closet full of skeletons; the fact is that a very fine archaeological dig could
be done with that pile of bones. You know those terrible memories that the evil one dredges up to make us doubt, bring us guilt and play with our sense of spiritual security.
If you will allow, let me take you back to a most terrible day in the temple courts, a day
when Jesus, our Lord, had been handed over, was being 'tried' and on His way to death
by crucifixion. I will paraphrase rather than quote scripture, but you know the story and can look up the text.
Simon Peter has kept his word and followed the Lord into the temple grounds, not too close, but there, at least. He is warming his hands by a fire when he is approached by a woman who identifies him as being with Christ. You know the backdrop. Jesus had told the twelve that He would be taken, beaten and killed; yet Peter, as we have come to know Him, refuses to believe that they will all fall away and exclaims that he will not deny the Lord. Jesus
had assured him that at the rooster crow, he will have already denied the Lord three times.
Jesus is the last great prophet so things work out just as He has said. There, in the gospel
of Luke, their eyes meet at the moment of final denial. How terribly heart breaking for
Peter; yet, I believe he would have found compassion in Jesus' glance for Jesus loved
Peter despite his ways.
Later, in one of my favorite moments, as Peter and companions are fishing without
success, a Man on the shore suggests moving the nets and things change. Peter dives
into the sea to meet His Master and the wonderful three-fold questions are asked. Do
you love me, Simon? It's a wonderful reaffirmation from out wonderful Lord.
So what is my point? Those skeletons in the closet, the ones ready for the dig, are
not even close to what Jesus forgave on that beach that day. In fact, in my mind
and heart, I have placed a sign around those bones that reads, Forgiven by my King.
God is truly great!