Bonding Fires

“And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, "You also were with Jesus of Nazareth."

Mark 14:67

One thing I enjoy about cold winter days is a nice warm fire. There is something special about a bonfire. Lots of great family memories are often made around the fire, everything from funny or scary stories to making delicious s’mores. Yet for Peter, his first experience at a bonfire was far from memorable and most likely something he would rather forget. Jesus had been betrayed by Judas and arrested and taken into custody. A mock trial was underway as Jesus was being interrogated by His captors. Peter had followed close behind as Jesus was led away and stood by outside. Marks gospel gives us the details of what transpired next.

Mark 14:66-72 tells us, “Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, "You also were with Jesus of Nazareth."But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor understand what you are saying." And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, "This is one of them." But he denied it again. And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, "Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it." Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know this Man of whom you speak!" A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, "Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times." And when he thought about it, he wept.”

Just as Jesus said, Peter would deny knowing Jesus, not once, not twice, but three times. This was something Peter would have vehemently denied he was even capable of doing and yet just as Jesus said he would, Peter did. Peter broke his own heart by his failure. He not only let the Lord down, he let himself down too. I don’t know if you have ever disappointed yourself but most of us have. We fail to live up to our own conscience. It’s both embarrassing and humiliating. Its in moments like this when you come to appreciate the forgiveness of God and that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted.

The good news of the gospel is Jesus not only forgives but He restores too. Peter would soon find this out for himself. After Jesus resurrection one of the very first things that was communicated by the angel to the women who came to anoint Jesus body there at the empty tomb was to “go tell His disciples and Peter that He (Jesus) is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you” (Mark 16:7). It’s significant that Peter was named personally. Why do you think Peter was singled out? Could it be that Peter at this moment in time felt like anything but a disciple of Jesus? After all, Peter deserted the Lord when Jesus could have used the support of a friend. Peter was obviously heartbroken by his own actions and most likely felt like a complete failure.

If you have ever felt like you have sinned and couldn’t be forgiven or that you just messed up so bad there was no fixing it you need to read the rest of Peter’s story in John 21:1-17. We will pick up the story after Jesus comes to the shoreline where the disciples are fishing in their boat not to far out and asks if they have any fish and then tells them to cast their net on the other side of the boat and immediately they realize its Jesus.

“…Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught." Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?"--knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs." He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.”

God is so good, His love absolutely amazing! For every time Peter had denied Jesus it appears that Jesus gave Peter the opportunity to reaffirm his devotion and love to Jesus. Talk about the God of the second chance! The third time was definitely the charm for Peter here. The story just goes to show us the wonder of the mercy and grace of our God. Where sin abounds grace does all the more Paul wrote to the church at Rome. What about you, friend? Are you in need of restoration today? Do you find yourself in need of a second third or fourth chance? If so there is forgiveness and restoration available because Jesus is risen just like He said. He died for our sins and rose again for our forgiveness, proof we can be forgiven when we come to Him.

Peter’s story could easily be your story and mine as we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and yet Jesus still went to the Cross and made a way possible that we could be redeemed and restored back to God. Don’t let your failure turn you away from God, allow God to us it to bring you to Him. Yes, loved one, there is something special about a bonfire, it’s where memories are made and life is shared, where hopes and dreams of a glorious future are forged. You might not be able to sit around a bonfire with Jesus today but you can get out your bible and experience for yourself His love and grace, His forgiveness and restoration, all made possible as you read His words and take them to heart. Remember, Peter wasn’t looking for Jesus, Jesus came looking for him. And what Jesus did for Peter, He will do for you! Remember…

“For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."

Romans 10:13


Michael Osthimer





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