You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
Peter is the disciple with whom I most readily relate. Impetuous, out-spoken, faith-filled, loyal to a fault, he is the first to recognize Jesus for who He really is: The Messiah. Yet still, just as I am and you are, Peter is a sinner in need of a Savior.
- Peter loses his focus upon Jesus, and begins to sink in the sea the Lord bade him walk on.
- Peter doesn't understand the miracle of the transfiguration, and tries fumblingly, and desperately, to contain the entire event in the limited realm of human understanding.
- Peter denies knowing Jesus at the very time when his Lord needs him most. In bitterness and regret, he weeps.
- Peter forgets, in the aftermath of the horrific crucifixion, Jesus' promise that the Son of Man will rise from the dead.
Peter fails. He falls. And all of us, from time to time in our lives, have done the same. We detest being faced with our shortcomings, don't we? We refuse to share the truths of our inadequacies with others because we are ashamed of them, fearful that confessing our sins will make us unlovable in their eyes. In cowardice, we hide behind a veneer of what we hope is perceived perfection.
But Peter, the one Jesus proclaims as the rock upon which the church will stand, parades his dirty laundry for all to see. He holds nothing back. The story of his denial of Jesus is one of the few accounts contained in all four Gospels. That alone speaks volumes.
Peter, warts and all, does not withhold the truth about himself because he recognizes The Truth, which must be told. Because he allows the transparency of his transgressions to be recorded so liberally in the New Testament, we can find hope in and take inspiration from his willingness to confess his shortcomings, that we might also come to salvation in Christ Jesus by confessing our own.
I listen attentively to President Trump's statements denouncing the violence which occurs in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend. The media refuse to accept his remarks as honest ones. They hound him for further clarification. Even when Trump gives more precise details, outlining the truth that there are two sides involved in this tragic clash, the media refuses to accept it. Instead, their reports emerge as scathingly derisive of the president, as if they never heard a word he uttered.
Now, you may not be a supporter of President Trump. You may have opposed him during the election. But this is the reality: We are all Americans and he is our president. A man who gave up the privileged life of a billionaire to serve his country.
A sinner in need of a Savior.
A man who is not reluctant to state that we are all created by God, no matter what our skin color or status in life.
A man who is not afraid to ask God to bless this nation, which he routinely does.
A man who seeks the truth, the facts, and is not afraid to share them with the American people in spite of the opposition.
And the opposition, which routinely spins truth into lies, is not going away any time soon.
I think Peter understood that concept all too well as he carried out his mission to spread the Good News of Christ Jesus. He, too, was accused of telling lies.
But he stuck with the Truth. The Truth, which still today, sets us free.