Before. During. After.

“Lord,” Peter asked, “why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus replied, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly I tell you, a rooster will not crow until you have denied me three times. (John 13:37-38)

It’s breathtaking if you think about it.

Jesus knew Peter was going to betray Him BEFORE he actually did. In Peter’s arrogant declaration, Jesus predicted failure. In Peter’s ignorant commitment, Jesus guaranteed denial. And He went to the cross anyway.

Not only did Jesus know beforehand what Peter would do, Jesus was crucified DURING Peter’s betrayal. Everyone scattered, even Peter, and Jesus proceeded on with the predetermined death on a cross.

And if you keep reading John’s Gospel, the resurrected Jesus restores Peter AFTER the thrice denial.

I told you it was breathtaking.

Jesus loved Peter before he sinned. During the sin itself. And after the sin.

Jesus guaranteed a betrayal, even when Peter arrogantly claimed the opposite. And He continued the walk to Golgotha.

Peter did, indeed, reject Jesus. Not once. Not twice. Three times. Peter scattered and left Jesus to Himself. And He continued to die on the cross.

Jesus died. Jesus was buried. Jesus resurrected. And He proceeded to pursue and restore Peter.

Oh my.

If you are anything like me, you start the day pretty good. You feel like you are going to stay close to Jesus and obey Him well. There are days you feel as if nothing could deter you from being a “good” Christian.

Then breakfast.

Then a meeting.

Then work tensions.

Then emails.

Then family drama.

Then angst at home.

Before you can say “rooster crow” three times, you have done it again.

The day started so good. The week was off to a tremendous beginning. Sure. You never said, “I am not going to betray you, Jesus!” You’re too smart for that. But you felt it. Then life happened. Then sin happened. Again.

Good news. No, that’s too mild. Breathtaking news.

Jesus knew you would blow it. He loved you BEFORE you did.

Jesus was with you when you blew it. He loved you DURING it.

And Jesus pursues you now. Looking to restore. Looking to make whole. Looking to make new. He loves you AFTER you messed up.

Oh my.