Bible Reading: Mark 16
Some said, “We all make mistakes, but few of us know what to do about our mistakes.” You can do your child a great service by teaching them what to do when they make a mistake. And, by teaching them about God’s forgiveness.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
It was January 1, 1929. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets were playing the UCLA Golden Bears in the Rose Bowl football game. The Yellow Jackets were backed up against their own goal on the 30-yard-line. The ball was snapped and the quarterback handed it off to running back Jack “Stumpy” Thomason. Thomason fumbled the ball and Roy Riegels, who played defensive middle linebacker for UCLA, picked up the ball and started to run. Riegles was a great football player. He had been voted onto the All-Coast team that year and his coach said he was the smartest player that he had ever coached. Suddenly, someone ran into Riegles, almost knocking him down. He spun in a circle…caught his balance…and took off running, again. There was only one problem…he was running the wrong way. His teammates were yelling at him to stop. But even though he heard them…he didn’t understand what they were saying and thought they were cheering him on. He ran, and he ran, and he ran…until one of his own teammates tackled him on their own 3-yard-line. The announcer who was calling the game on the radio said, “What am I seeing? What’s wrong with me? Am I crazy? Am I crazy?”
Now, UCLA was backed up against their own goal on the 3-yeard-line. They ran a couple of plays but couldn’t move the ball. So, they decided to punt. But Georgia Tech blocked the punt in the end-zone for a safety…2 points.
At half-time, Riegels sat in a corner by himself with a towel over his shoulders. He was totally humiliated. The coach didn’t say much. He knew what was on every team member’s mind and he didn’t want to make it worse. Finally, the timekeeper came in and told them there were three minutes until the second-half began. The coach stood up and announced that the same team that had started the first-half would start the second-half. The players got up and started out of the locker room. That is, all but one…Riegels. He just sat there in disgrace. The coach walked over to him and said, “Roy, didn’t you hear what I said?” Tears were running down Roy’s cheeks when he looked up and answered, “Coach, I can’t do it. I’ve ruined you. I’ve ruined the university’s reputation. I’ve ruined myself. I can’t face the crowd out there.” The coach put his hand on Roy’s shoulder and said, “Roy, get up and go back. The game is only half over.” According to folks who were at the game, Roy played great in the second half. The next year he would be voted the team Captain. But he would never be able to shake the memory of his mistake. For the rest of his life he would be known as “Wrong Way Roy”. According to an article written at that time, there were approximately 4,500 stories totaling an estimated 250,000 column inches written about Roy’s wrong way run in newspapers across the United States. In 2003, Roy’s wrong way run was voted by the College Hall of Fame and CBS Sports as one of the 6 most memorable moments in football history. Roy became famous…because of a mistake…because of what he had done wrong.
One of the disciples of Jesus also made a terrible mistake. He did something very wrong. His name was Peter. Of the 12 disciples of Jesus…Peter was one of three that were closest to Him. He was a devoted follower of Jesus. On the night that He was betrayed, Jesus told the disciples what was about to happen. He told them that He would be betrayed by one them…He would be arrested, tried, and found guilty…and that the rest of them would run away in fear of losing their own lives. Peter was brash and hasty in his response. He said, “The rest of these guys may run away. But I never will. I will die with You…before I run away from You!” Jesus responded, “Peter, tonight, before the rooster crows two times…you will deny Me three times.” Peter kept saying that he would never deny that he was a follower of Jesus. But sadly, Peter did exactly what Jesus had said. And before morning he had denied that he even knew Jesus three times.
That was Thursday night. Fast-forward to Sunday. Jesus has risen from the dead…but the disciples do not know it, yet. Early in the morning, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went to His tomb. When they arrived, they saw that the huge stone that blocked the entrance was rolled away. When they looked inside to tomb it was empty. Jesus’ body was gone. But wait, there was someone inside, an angel. He told them that Jesus had risen from the dead. He was alive. Before He had died, Jesus had told the disciples that after He rose from the dead He would meet them at the Sea of Galilee. Now, the angel gave the women a command from Jesus. He said, “Jesus told me to remind the disciples that they are to meet Him at the Sea of Galilee. And make sure that Peter knows that he is supposed to be there, as well.” Why did the angel single Peter out? Because Peter, more than any of the other disciples had boasted that he would never deny Jesus. Then, when the moment came, when his life was in danger…Peter had done exactly what he had said he would never do. Not once. Not twice. But three times. Just like Jesus had said. Three times…in front of everyone…Peter had denied that he even knew Jesus. It was bad enough that he would have to live with that memory for the rest of his life…Judas may have betrayed Jesus for money…but Peter had betrayed Jesus to save his own skin. He was so embarrassed that he could never look any of the disciples in the eye again. But now, now that Jesus was alive, he would certainly never be able to look Jesus in the eye. He had totally failed Him…worse than any of the other disciples. He could never be worthy of being a follower of Jesus, again. Jesus would never trust him with anything out of fear that he would fail, again. But Jesus told the angel to make certain that Peter knew that He wanted him to be there. Despite his failure. Despite his embarrassment. Jesus wanted Peter to be there with the disciples.
Can you imagine…just for a moment…how Peter must have felt when the women came back from the tomb? They were probably so excited, that as they told the disciples what had happened, the disciples thought that they were crazy. They were out of their minds with sorrow over the death of Jesus and had seen things that were not real. But no, as they talked, the disciples realized that it was true. Then the women said, “Oh, and the angel reminded us that you are to meet Jesus at the Sea of Galilee…like He said before He died.” At that moment, Peter probably dropped his head. It was time for him to leave. Before they all looked at him wondering what he was going to do and things got even more uncomfortable. He may have even started for the door. He would just slip out, quietly leave. He was no longer a part of this group…this group of followers of Jesus. But as he did, one of the women said, “Peter.” He froze in his tracks. He had hoped that they would not notice him leaving. He turned his head back in her direction…but dared not look into her eyes. “Peter, the angel specifically mentioned you by name. He said that Jesus said to make certain that you know that He wants you there. Peter…Jesus wants you.” I don’t know about you…but I imagine that at that moment…Peter collapsed to the floor, tears flooding from his eyes. Jesus wanted him. Despite his boasting. Despite his failure. Despite…anything. Jesus wanted Peter.
Have you ever failed? Have you ever done something you shouldn’t have done? Have you ever sinned? And afterwards, when the realization of what you did began to sink in…you felt so bad. And it felt like God had turned His back on you and never wanted to see you, again? Take it from Peter…that’s not what God is like. Even when you are at your worst…God still loves you. Even when others don’t love you. Even when you don’t love yourself. God still loves you. At that time…when you feel like God is far, far away…hear His voice speak to you. He will send the Holy Spirit and will call you, just like Peter, to come back to Him. Do this, when you feel far from God, put your name in the blank space in the following sentence…and like Peter…hear God telling you that He still loves you and wants you to come back. Are you ready? Read it out loud and let it sink in.
“Oh, and by the way, Jesus said to make sure that you know that He still loves you and wants you to come home, to come back to Him. ______________, Jesus wants you.”
Love you more than bunches and bunches,