The Lord has appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
Luke 22:61 gives us a snapshot during Jesus’ sufferings that Mel Gibson could only dream about capturing. The text says, “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.”
Can you imagine? Peter had just denied Jesus for the third time. The rooster was crowing. Then, Jesus looked at Peter.
What kind of look do you get when you mess up in a huge way? Is it an angry look? Is it disappointment? Is it a look of judgment? What kind of look would you give your teenage child if he wrecked your car, got an F on his report card or was caught doing drugs? What look would you give your boyfriend if you found out he was cheating on you?
What kind of look did Jesus give Peter that day? I’m not sure, really. But I don’t think it was a look of anger, disappointment or judgment. I think Jesus gave him a look that said, “I still love you and need you.”
That’s what Jesus said to Peter before and after this event. Jesus predicted Peter would deny Him. In the context of the Last Supper, Jesus told Peter that Satan was about to sift him. Jesus said, “But I have prayed for you, Simon (Peter), that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus knew what Peter would do but also knew that Peter would return. And he told Peter that despite his future failures, he still could use him, use Peter to help the others. After the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter if he still loved Him. After Peter’s half-committed response, Jesus said I still need you. I need you to feed my people.
Peter was confused and scared. Peter followed at a distance (at least he followed). Peter denied Jesus three times.
But after receiving this look from Jesus, Peter wept like a baby.
That, too, is the look you need to see God give you. When you’ve completely blown it, messed it up worse than ever and even when you’ve denied Jesus and His influence in your life … you need to know that Jesus says, “I still love you and need you.” When you experience that look instead of a look of condemnation, be ready to shed a few tears of sadness and joy.
Lord, please look at me with love and kindness, like You always do. I am sorry for the ways I may disappoint You, but I am grateful that You never turn Your back on me. Thank You for loving me unconditionally.