Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man's disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”

—John 18:17

Peter is often somewhat vilified by modern Bible readers.  He frequently stuck his foot in his mouth.  And to add insult to that injury, he denied Christ while Jesus was on trial—several times—with swearing on one occasion.  With eyes on Jesus and remembering our own failures, we might not be so hard on our brother Peter.

In John 21:15-17 we read of Jesus’ kind forgiveness and commissioning of Peter.  Three times Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me?”  Three times Peter emphatically answered, “Yes.”  After each reaffirmation of Peter’s love for Jesus, Jesus reaffirmed Peter’s commission to the ministry. 

I do not think Peter ceased loving Jesus even when he was denying Him.  His love, like yours and mine, wavered; but Peter never stopped loving Jesus.  Let’s face it, every time we sin, in that moment, as R.C. Sproul used to say, we love our sin more than we love Jesus.  But it doesn’t mean we do not love Jesus.

So let’s be gracious with Peter even as we are gracious to ourselves and want others to be gracious to us.

Let us be humbled that the Lord forgives our sins, including those we continue to commit when our love for Jesus is eclipsed by our sins.

And let us rejoice that the Lord continues to use us, even when we might otherwise be sidelined by our own sin.