There are some judicious leaders who think through everything before acting. They are those who contemplate then speak. They keep their thoughts and emotions close to their chest, and rarely do they deviate from their carefully considered and drawn-out plan. They are bold and confident as they march forward. They are detailed and precise in execution. They are best described as intentional. These leaders are slower to respond, and because of this they are also slower to make mistakes. They are more safe, and often they are more wise. Thomas may represent this first group of judicious leaders. He is not quick to believe what he hears from others. He is not driven by emotion. He needs more evidence before buying that which men are selling. Oh, he will lead; he will serve; he will sacrifice; Thomas will be bold and daring, but only after a more careful consideration of all the facts.
Then there are some more instinctive leaders. They live on their toes, with open chests, and with transparent faces. One does not have to wonder what they are thinking, for they have already expressed themselves. They are quick to act, quick to see their folly, quick to adjust, and off they go again. They too are bold and confident. However, in their labors they are less detailed and more impulsive. They are less intentional and more flexible. They are less safe and more entrepreneurial. Sometimes they are wise, and sometimes they are foolish. They are oft times wrong, but never in doubt. These leaders accomplish much, but they also make many, many mistakes. Simon Peter seems to represent this second group of instinctive leaders. Peter is quick to answer, quick to walk on the water, quick to pick up the sword, quick to swim to the shore, and quick to preach on the Day of Pentecost. However, he is also quick to be wrong, quick to be reprimanded, quick to sink, quick to argue with Christ, and quick to deny. The good news is he is quick to repent as well.
In the Scripture text below, Jesus Christ proves his love to his instinctive, impulsive, and most sinful disciple. So quick is Christ to pick back up his fallen brother that he declares his passionate love even before Peter’s dismal night. Christ foresees Peter’s folly and forsakes him not:
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.” …
There came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”
And one of them (Simon Peter) struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear …
Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house.
And Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.
And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”
And he went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:31-62)
Peter is so bold; he is also so cowardly. He is so faithful, and then he is faithless. With confidence he swings the sword against Jesus’ enemies; he is not afraid of men. Then with fear he disowns his Lord and Savior before a little servant girl. What a double-minded man! What a dishonorable worshiper! What a disappointing friend! What a pathetic leader!
However, there is good news — really good news. Heres is the Gospel. Even though Jesus Christ foresees Simon Peter’s tragic sin and blasphemy. Even though Jesus sees Simon Peter responding as did Judas and betraying him, Peter is particularly beloved by his Savior. Christ foresees Peter’s attempts at being faithful. He foresees Peter’s attempts at keeping the Law. He also foresees Peter’s deplorable fall. And, despite his lack of faithfulness, Christ promises forgiveness, restoration, and future profitable ministry. It was for this purpose and for this fallen man that Jesus came to earth to live and die.
Friends, Jesus Christ never forsakes his own. There is nothing that can separate his beloved from his hands. Have you called out to Jesus Christ and proclaimed your need of his salvation? Have you placed all your faith in his sacrificial atonement in life and on the cross? Then repent and rejoice. Jesus may have to pick you up out of the water and highlight your lack of faith. Jesus may have to look at you at times and disciple you with hard words such as, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Your Savior may have to turn and look at you with sorrow in his eyes following your sin, betrayal, and blasphemy. However, Jesus Christ is no temperamental lover. No, Jesus is the judicious leader who thinks through everything before acting. He predestines everything, and he never deviates from his carefully considered and drawn-out plan. Therefore, in accordance with his plan, he rescues his own. Jesus is detailed and precise in his execution. He is intentional and not driven by fleeting emotions. Jesus will lead. Jesus will serve. Jesus will sacrifice and save. He will reconcile and restore, for his true disciples are secure in his arms. Jesus foresees your folly and forsakes you not.
So see your horrible sin and cry.
Then get ready, Jesus Christ has lived for you, he has died for you, he has prayed for you, and he is coming your way to reconcile and restore. It is for such sins that he came to earth. It is for such sins that he lived and he died.
Then following your time of tearful reconciliation, stand up and joyfully serve. You are the recipient of undeserved, unilateral, unconditional, one-way love. Forsake your sin and serve your King. He has foreseen your transgression. He has forsaken you not. Spend time in his forgiving embrace right now and then go serve like you have never served before. Pentecost in right around the corner.