“No one has ever fallen so grievously that he may not rise again. Conversely, no one stands so firmly that he may not fall.
If Peter (and Paul and Barnabas) fell, I too may fall. If they rose again, I too may rise again.”
– Martin Luther.
Peter’s name meant “rock.” He was supposed to be the “rock” of Jesus’ church. (Mt. 16:18) There are many times that he did exhibit this rock of faith: walking on water to reach Jesus (Mt. 14:29), confessing Jesus as the Christ (Mk 8:29), even injuring the servant of the high priest on the night Jesus was arrested (Jn 18:10).
But even this rock of faith was not enough to keep Peter from falling. When the pressures of this world became real and overwhelming, Peter denied Jesus. Denied even knowing him much less being the rock of His church. Three times. In One Night. (Jn 18:15-27)
Just like Jesus knew he would (Jn. 13:37-38). God knew from the beginning of the world Peter’s story, and He still chose to call him. Chose to use him to build His church, even though He knew Peter would fall.
If God knew Peter’s story, then He knows yours, too. He knows just how far and how hard you will fall. Because we all fall. Romans 3:10 tells us, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” It’s not a matter of “if” you will fall, but “when.”
The key is to rise again. Peter denied Jesus three times, but Jesus later reinstated Peter as his rock by confirming three times that Peter loved Him (Jn. 21:15-17). One confirmation for each denial. Then Peter truly became the Rock of Faith.
Jesus loves you. He knows you. He knows your sin, and still loves you. Nothing “in all creation will be able to separate [you] from the love of God” (Rm. 8:39), not even your sin. Not even your secret sin that no one else knows about. Yes, yours.
You are not so fallen that Jesus can’t raise you back up. For His glory.
Jesus, the friend of sinners, who has compassion and mercy on the guilty, wants you. Wants to talk to you, to listen to you, to restore you.
He wants to raise you up out of sin and despair to deposit you into the Father’s hand where “no one can snatch [you] out” (Jn. 10:29), to keep you safe for all eternity.
Lord, help us to know that everyone falls, but that through You, we can rise again. Let us never be fearful of coming to Your throne to seek redemption, which you freely give. Help us through the pain of falling, and be with us in the joy of rising!