By Carey Nieuwhof, Founding Pastor
So if you really mess up, does that end your relationship with God?
It’s a great question.
The reality of most of our lives is this: we promise we’ll obey God, then we don’t.
Does that ever mean God will simply reject you? That you’ve gone too far and it’s over?
Today is Maundy Thursday…the day before Good Friday. There is no better picture than Good Friday of what it means to fail God and see how God responds to your failure.
We’ll look at the cross, share communion, and reflect on what happened when Jesus died so you and I could live.
But back to the question: so can you actually fail so badly that God rejects you?
We commonly think of Judas Iscariot as being the man who betrayed Jesus. And that’s true. He accepted a bribe from Jesus’ enemies and delivered Jesus into their hands, which led directly to Jesus’ crucifixion and death.
Judas soon became despondent over what he did, so much so that he went out and hanged himself.
But there was another man who betrayed Jesus on Maundy Thursday too: Peter. Peter promised that he would never let anything bad happen to Jesus and that he would be with him to the end.
But immediately after Jesus’ arrest, Peter denied he even knew Jesus and never mustered the courage to help Jesus while Jesus was being tried and killed. Instead, he cowered and slunk away.
But watch what happened.
Peter didn’t take matters into his own hands. He, too, was deeply sorry. But he hung around long enough to face God again. To see Jesus on the other side of the resurrection.
In a powerful scene in John 21, Jesus and Peter meet.
What will Jesus do?
Jesus does something far more powerful than that: he forgives him.
Then, he does something astonishing: Jesus affirms he’s going to build the church on Peter.
The very man who denied Jesus is the very man who will tell millions that Jesus is risen.
If there is hope for Peter, then there’s hope for you.
God’s final word is love.
If, like Judas, you think it’s too late, that you’ve gone too far, reconsider. Stop right now and turn to Jesus and ask him to forgive you.
He will use your life for powerful purposes because he loves you.
Whatever you did, the cross covers it.
Think that doesn’t apply to you? Think again.
You know what I believe? I believe there was hope for even for Judas. If he had stayed around long enough to look Jesus in the eye, I believe Jesus would have forgiven him.
That’s the power of the cross.
That’s the power of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
That’s the power of forgiveness in Jesus’ name.
Don’t give up. It’s not over yet.
Join us online for a Good Friday service at 10 am and for Easter Sunday services at 8, 9, 10 & 11 am on YouTube. You can get more information, including details on the Easter Jam celebration for your kids, here.