Power in the Blood

Resurrection Sunday

Isn’t it awesome to consider that God came down to earth in the form of a man, died though he did no wrong, and rose again the third day?  Easter is a time when Christians rejoice, and I’m as happy as any.

I’ve heard quite a few Easter sermons in my 21 years, but never one quite like the one I heard today.  My pastor taught on the man Peter.  You see, Christ didn’t just rise from the dead; he walked among the disciples for forty days (according to Acts chapter 1), and one of the things he did before ascending to the right hand of God in heaven was to reinstate Peter. 

You remember Peter, the disciple who denied the Lord three times.  Think about it.  How would you feel if you had told your hero/boss/leader that you would follow him to prison and death, and then later that same night, you denied that you even knew him?  I know I would feel unworthy to ever be called a disciple again. 

Chances are that Peter thought his ministry was over.  In fact, in John 21, Peter goes back to fishing.  It could be that he was just filling in time, but in the circumstances, it looks rather like he had given up on being a disciple.  He probably thought he’d crossed the line, gone too far for Jesus to take him back and use him.  Not that he did not believe anymore, just that he was not fit for use.

Jesus didn’t see it that way.  He asked Peter three times during one breakfast whether Peter loved him.  And each time Peter responded that he did, Christ commands him to “feed my lambs.”  Christ was telling Peter that he still had work for him to do.  We know that in Acts, on the day of Pentecost, Peter was the one who got up and explained to the confused multitude why his friends could talk and each man understand in his own language.  That’s a wonderful story in itself, but we’re talking about Peter.  Peter who made a big mistake, sinned greatly.  God could still use him, and he can still use you and me.

I’m no closer to perfect than any of you.  Nor am I any better than Peter, though I have not denied my Lord in the way that Peter did.  Maybe I don’t always claim the name of Christ either, though my denials may be more passive than active.  I make no secret of being a Christian when someone asks me, but sometimes I keep quiet about it and miss my chance to share my testimony.

What might have happened if Peter had claimed Christ in the courtyard of the high priest?  Might he have been thrown into prison?  Sure.  Might he have been killed also, perhaps by the kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off?  Certainly.  Might someone have asked Peter why he followed Christ, allowing Peter to share some of the things Christ had done?  Absolutely. 

A host of “might haves” don’t get us any closer to Christ, though.  God is bigger than our pasts.  We can leave the past with him and move through the present toward the future.  With God as our strength, we can overcome, and we can be useful vessels again.

The resurrection power of Christ doesn’t end with raising us from our dead selves to life eternal.  He can also raise us when we fall into trouble, difficulty, and even sin, and he can make us more like himself.  It’s called sanctification, and he takes a human lifetime to work it out.  There’s a whole lot of power in the blood of Christ, both to save and to sanctify.

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