Easter: Peter’s Redemption Story April 3-7

Peter’s denial and restoration is a vibrant picture of the power of Christ’s death and resurrection in one person’s life. We can see ourselves in Peter’s self-protective denial, his grief over his sin, and the pain and joy of Christ’s redeeming work in his life. Peter’s story is a powerful one, because it shows us something very important about the Resurrection. It shows us that the Resurrection of Jesus by itself is not magic; it doesn’t just wipe out the pain and mistakes and failures of the past. Instead, it does something far better, far more life-giving, it redeems them. And for this redemption to happen, we must let the Risen Christ into the very source of our pain, regret, and failures.   


Day 1       John 13:33-38 

Reflect: Where do you think Peter thought Jesus was going? When Jesus said that he would deny Him, what do you think went through Peter’s mind? What would the others have thought?

Apply:   How closely do identify with Peter, feeling close to Jesus, then finding yourself ignoring Him or intimidated about professing Him as Lord?

Pray:    Father, forgive me when I overestimate my ability to handle a problem. I cannot face the challenges of life and faith without Your power and presence. Strengthen me for the days ahead to faithfully honor You and to be a blessing to others.


Day 2      John 18:1-14

Reflect: How does Jesus’ response, “I am He” (verse 5) differ from saying, “Yes, it’s Me”? After He said this, what immediately happened? Why? Do you think Jesus’ earlier prophesy impacted Peter’s actions? Based on this text, what most impacts you?

Apply:   When have you tried to boldly defend Jesus? What resulted? How has He protected you?

Pray:     Jesus, I want to live in willing obedience and utter dependence upon You. By the things I may suffer, teach me submission. In all things may I accept, “Thy will not mine be done.” 


Day 3       John 18:15-27 

Reflect: What is Jesus doing while Peter is hanging out at the fire? What do you notice when you compare Peter’s first denial with his last? If John were with him, would Peter be different?

Apply:   Are there certain people you are more confident in talking about Jesus than others? Why?  Resolve to be more aware of your denials—and make the choice to be faithful to Christ.  

Pray:    Like Peter, sometimes my faith falters and I let You down by trying to shield myself instead of standing boldly for You. Let my life be a true testimony that I am a bondservant and Your disciple, to bring honor to Your name.


Day 4       John 20:1-20

Reflect: What do you find interesting about John’s story in verse 1-10? When did they realize that Jesus had risen from the dead? Why did Jesus choose to first appear to Mary?

Apply:   What about Jesus’ resurrection impacts you most and why? How has Jesus revealed Himself to you in a real way? How does the vision of His wounded hands speak to you?

Pray:     Lord, I pray for faith and trust, to confidently know that You will meet and bless me in ways beyond my expectation.


Day 5       John 21:15-19  

Reflect: Why do you think Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him? Do you think Peter understood in the moment? Jesus shifts from the “fisherman” to the “shepherd” metaphor.  What is the difference?  To what is Jesus calling Peter? What will transpire? 

Apply:    Do you love Jesus? How are you showing it? What sacrifices are you willing to make?

Pray:     Father, forgive me for my failures, sins, and moments of unfaithfulness. With your Spirit, strengthen my faithfulness, renew my passion for holiness, and rekindle my commitment for service in Your Kingdom. 


Put It Into Practice!

Lent is the Christian season of repentance and renewal. This year we are focusing on and studying the ways God accomplishes His redeeming work in and through us.  The suggested “Put It Into Practice” exercises for this series are practices of spiritual devotion fitting for this sacred period of cleansing, contemplation, and renewal. Try them all, a few, or just choose one to practice this Lenten season.


Reflect – The ancient practice of reflection is a tool for looking back at your day and noticing where God has been present and at work, as well as to recognize things about yourself that may need to be reshaped by the Potter. During this time, spend a few moments in gratitude for the gifts and blessings of the day. Ask God to enlighten you about where His presence in your day. Examine the moments of your day, noticing your reactions to what has led to consolation and what has led to desolation. Seek forgiveness for the times when you have acted, spoken or thought contrary to God’s grace and calling for you. Resolve to change. Decide what in your behavior or attitude you will try to improve tomorrow.


Practice generosity – Just as Boaz, be generous with your money, food, time and talents to those in need. Carefully examine what motivates you to be generous under the shadow of the Cross, for almsgiving is of little value if we give only to relieve our conscience but remain indifferent to those in need.  


Strengthen relationships – Help your family and strive to sacrifice of yourself for their benefit. Go the extra mile to maintain communication, to heal old wounds, and mend broken bridges. Learn to apologize and to put yourself in others’ shoes. Reach beyond your comfort zone by engaging with people who are different than you. Seek out the best in others and give the best that is in yourself. Remember Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, the loving Father, and the elder son.  


Fast – Intentionally withhold something you would normally partake in for the purpose of creating space in your life to feast on the presence of Jesus “directly.” Fast from foods associated with “feasting”—chocolate, desserts, coffee/caffeine, alcohol, etc. Fast from media or entertainment: cell phone, TV, streaming video, radio, music, email, computers, video games, etc. Fast from habits and comforts—shopping, looking in the mirror, makeup, elevators, parking in a spot close to the store, finding the shortest checkout line, reading online, following sports, etc. 


Confession – Allow the spiritual discipline of confession which leads to forgiveness, to be part of your daily practice. Before we can experience the full grace, healing and redemption made available through Jesus, we must turn from our sins and confess them to God. Dig deep. What sins of unfaithfulness to God do you need to confess?


Rejoice in the Lord— Let the joy of the Lord be your strength! On Sundays, if what you have sacrificed through fasting increases the joy of this wonderful day, then sacrifice it. If it does not, then do not. The joy of the Lord must be your strength!