You have failed and feel deep shame. How can God ever use you again? I’ve been a failure. So has Peter. So was Judas. What was the difference in their responses?
Judas went to men to right his wrong. The religious men he went to could care less about Judas’ heart. They cared about the money, but not Judas. The result of going to religious leaders for redemption was suicide. What was different for Peter?
Three times after Y’shua-Jesus was arrested, Peter denied knowing Him. This was after Peter said he would have his Lord’s back and was even ready to fight to the death for Him, but then, after Peter took his first swing of his sword, slicing off an “enemy” ear, Y’shua stopped him and healed the man that Peter cut. Later that same night, Peter denied even knowing who Y’shua is. But a relative of the man Peter cut with his sword, a witness in the garden, said, “I saw you…” (Luke 22: 54-62 and John 18:15-27)
But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, ” Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22:60-62
There is no evidence that Peter went to any man to ease his pain.
In my life I have done both, I’ve gone to my pastor with my pain and I have gone to the throne of grace. I’m here to tell you that religious men have all kinds of answers for hurting people, good answers, but the only relief I’ve ever found is in Y’shua. As a teacher, all I have to give you is Him.
1 Peter chapter 5, #NTin2018 To the elders: shepherd the flock
What happened next? Judas was overcome with despair and hung himself. Peter was also in despair. He was among other believers, disguising his depression with the grief they all felt. When the initial report of the resurrection came, Peter ran to the tomb, but no one was there. But Y’shua did come to Peter, according to 1 Corinthians 15:5 He went to Peter before he went to anyone else.
So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” John 21:15
Peter closes his first epistle with a word to the elders, shepherd the flock of God… as a fellow elder and witness to the suffering of Christ, suffering that he knew he himself had intensified and that he had looked directly into the face of (Luke 22:61), he exhorts, elders to Shepherd the flock of God.
Shepherding, at the basic level, has to do with guiding the flock to good food and watching for predators. Shepherding isn’t just seeing what is being eaten or knowing where the predators are, it is knowing who is missing, who is wounded and what to do about restoration of a healthy flock. It is knowing about the glory that follows forgiveness, as Peter well knew. Peter was there when Y’shua said, “I AM with you always…” (Matthew 28:20) In his agony, Peter was not alone, there was a time to weep before Y’shua let him know he was there, (1 Corinthians 15:5) Peter also knows the “glory that is to be revealed” 1 Peter 5:1
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, ” Shepherd My sheep.” John 21:16-17
Pigs can eat anything. Shepherds of sheep need to be careful that sheep do not eat trash. Trash looks good! It looks like brightly colored cereals or “just add hot water” to Styrofoam cups of fried noodles. It looks like New Age magic (theology) and pagan holidays (cleaned up with Biblical names and places) Trash is for pigs.
Shepherds should know what is good by experience and lead by example. Failure and the soul sickness that follows does not disqualify a man from being a shepherd of God’s flock. Failure is an element of training for shepherds. Responding to Y’shua after a season of weeping actually qualifies a man before God because it builds compassion and is the strong motivation to not sin that sin again. The message Peter shares with the elders is that they check their motives for being a pastor of God’s flock. Is it for the money? Is it for power over people? That is not love.
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, 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, ” Tend My sheep. John 21:17
There is no place for pride It is to the humble that glory is revealed. I find it interesting that Y’shua did not ask Peter to love the sheep. Affection usually comes naturally. We are called to be supernatural. He asked Peter about his love for Y’shua, not for the sheep. For the love of Jesus, shepherd the flock. Don’t point them to yourself when they are in agony of soul. Be an example, but show them who you follow. Pray with them, insist that they pray for them self, to build confident faith. In your zeal, do not insist that they like what you like, vote how you vote, wear what you wear or work where you work. That is pride. But turn their eyes to the Great Shepherd. Direct them to put anxiety in his lap, encourage the lambs. Remember that our battle is not against the lambs but against the wolf, the force of wickedness, who roars like a lion (as one who pretends to be The Lion of Judah in order to devour the flock). Pray for One another. Remember elders, you are shepherds, not saviors. Tend Y’shua’s lambs by guiding them to the Great Shepherd. Weep with those who weep. After the tears have drained from the wounded lamb, then shepherd, point them to where you found grace…
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11
Debs… singing AMEN in Everett, Washington
For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5 NASU
If you have time, read Psalm 30, It could have been called Peter’s Psalm… or Deb’s, or yours.