Who Else Needs a Fresh Start? Jesus Restores Peter
I’m reaching the point in life when I need to start over. I’ve made some mistakes and it’s cost me a lot. In fact, I’m shocked to find myself in situations where I never ever dreamed I would be. I’m not much concerned about how I reached this point in life (although I’ve learned some good lessons), I’m more concerned about successfully starting over.
I’ve read some books filled with principles about starting over. They are helpful; but, I want to know if you can give me more than just simple platitudes. How about tying my situation directly to Bible a story so I’m certain that I get God’s perspective?
One life story comes immediately to mind. If anyone needed a fresh start, it was Peter!
If children playing ball have a dispute about a play, and it seems there is no agreeable resolution, then someone says, “Let’s have a ‘do-over’” This is what starting over is about.
Peter’s life was filled with starts, stops, ups, and downs and restarts. Just like our lives.
Peter’s twitter account might look something like this.
Followed Jesus. #Fish4Guys
Rabbi heals. #PeepsGetWell. #Amazing
Told Rabbi not to go to the cross. Bit my tongue. #StupidWords
Rabbi transfigured in Heavenly Glory. Tried to sell tickets. Said something stupid. Again. #GodMad.
Cast out some demons! #JesusPower
Watched Jesus make tasty bread. 20,000 meals. #FoodMiracle
Walked on water. Should never have taken my eyes off of Jesus. #UnderWater.
Figured out Rabbi was the SOTLG. (Son of the Living God). #JesusImpressed
In the garden. Slept. Cut Malchus’ Ear. Jesus said, “Put up UR sword.” #EarBlood #Humiliated.
Rabbi crucified. I ran. #Bummer #EpicFail
Denied Christ. #LiarLiar #HateMyself.
Gave up on Jesus. Lost it. #RTF (Returned to fishing)
Restored at seaside breakfast. #MySecondChance
Nothing but nets. Rabbi came. Big fish fry. #HeForgave
“Do you love me with divine love?” “I like you a lot.” “Do you even like me a lot?” #BrokeMyHeart.
Rabbi called me Rock. Cool nickname. We’re tight. #JesusMyBFF
Commissioned: Tend my sheep. Feed my lambs. Lead my church. #I’mBack
Preached with power. 3,000 saved. #HolyGhostRevival
Pastored FBC Jerusalem. #VictoryTime
Wrote 2 Bible books. Knew I could do it. Yea! #JesusInMe
Crucified. World looks funny upside down. #HeavenWaiting
Make a life-chart of your own ups and downs. See how many times you went down and had to start over. How carefully did you include Jesus in your new beginning? You’ll find your chart quite revealing. You’ll learn a lot about yourself-and about Jesus.
HOW DO WE GET OFF TRACK?
We forget what God has done in our lives.
We become apathetic.
We believe lies. We turn away.
Sin is fun.
We deliberately choose to live in the “flesh” and not in the Spirit.
But ultimately, no matter how we look at it, the preeminent reason why we go down is because we take our eyes off of Jesus. That’s why Peter sank. That’s why we sink.
HERE ARE SOME REMINDERS FROM JESUS WHEN IT’S TIME TO START OVER.
1. Look at Peter’s up-and-down chart. Jesus’ gave Peter lots of second chances. Think about it, Jesus gives us lots of do-overs. He’ll give us five or ten or seventy. Even more if we need them.
2. Jesus forgave Peter for his sinful downer “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). If our downer involves sin, he’ll forgive us, too.
3. Jesus reminded Peter of who he was: he was the rock; the foundation of church (Matthew 16:18). He reminds us that we are part of the Royal Priesthood, God’s special possession (1 Peter 2:9).
4. Jesus restored Peter’s vision and life’s calling: “I’m a shepherd; UB a Shepherd, too (John 21).
He has special plans for us, too. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
5. Here’s the good news. We can change. We can have a fresh start. God still has work for us to do. God still has a calling for us “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
6. I’ve saved the most important take away for last. There’s one essential thing; one preeminent thing that really counts; one endeavor we can’t do without. Have I emphasize this enough?
If we want to start over well, and have fewer start overs in the future, walk in the life and power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing else will do!
In The Presence Of Jesus Peter DID The Miraculous.
He walked on water (Matthew 14:27-31).
“Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Peter had a 100% history of failure to walk on water: after all, he waded to the boat.
Think of how much faith it took to put his leg over the side. I’m impressed!
Then, he glanced back to impress the disciples: “Hi guys”. Then, he took eyes off Jesus and began to sink.
How do you think he returned to the boat? Jesus didn’t carry him. He walked.
In The Presence Of Jesus Peter SAID The Miraculous.
Who do people say the Son of Man is? “(Matthew 16:13-20).
“Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But, Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood did not tell you this, but my Father in heaven.”
In the presence of Jesus Peter had MIRACULOUS COURAGE.
Jesus was arrested. Peter, full of courage, wanted to protect Jesus).
“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear” (John 18:10).
You know Peter was not swinging for Malchus’ ear. He was aiming to decapitate him. But Malchus ducked and Peter caught his ear instead.
WE KNOW WHAT PETER COULD DO IN THE PRESENCE OF JESUS.
WHAT WAS PETER LIKE WHEN JESUS WAS IN THE OTHER ROOM?
When not in the presence of Jesus, Peter DID NO miraculous things. He was afraid of a little girl.
When not in the presence of Jesus, Peter SAID NO miraculous things. He cursed and three times denied Jesus. The rooster crowed.
When not in the presence of Jesus, Peter HAD NO miraculous courage. He deserted Jesus at the cross.
But then came Pentecost. Once again, we find Peter miraculously saying and doing what he did and said when he was standing in the presence of Jesus.
He again DID the miraculous.
He healed the lame man “Silver and gold I don’t have, but what I have I give to you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk (Acts 3:1-10).
He SAID miraculous things.
He preached, “What shall we do?” 3000 saved (Acts 2:36-41).
He had miraculous COURAGE.
The Jewish leaders threatened him with death if he kept preaching about Jesus. “We can’t help speaking about what we have both seen and heard!” (Acts 4:18-20).
WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE? THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT.
On Pentecost Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to sanctify, encourage, comfort, teach, guide and fill us for holy living. By virtue of the Holy Spirit, we find that we can do miraculous things; say miraculous words; and have miraculous courage.
Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Ephesians 5:18: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
Let me illustrate: take an empty glove and see if it can move its fingers and play the piano and make beautiful No. It can do none of those.
However, what happens when we fill the glove with the skilled hands?
Now it moves its fingers and plays the piano and makes beautiful music.
A conscious choice, yielding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, submission to his desires, and a decisive choice to walk in step with the Spirit, are necessary in making a fresh start.
Well, Kaitlin, I hope that I’ve done what you said and added a biblical perspective to all the secular platitudes.
 The following points are adapted from a sermon I heard by John MacArthur on a cassette tape over 35 years ago. I figure that since these principles have served me well, and I’ve never forgotten them, they’ll serve you well, too.