God gave Adam everything. - The whole world and all it contained, a garden of bliss to enjoy and a companion to share it with. God walked side by side with Adam in the garden and they talked together, they shared together, they had a bond of fellowship with each other. But then came the warning: ‘You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die’ (Genesis 3:17).
Adam wanted more. Together with Eve they looked to the forbidden fruit, took it and ate it. Immediately they realised what they had done. Covered in guilt and shame they tried to hide from God. The result was a separation from God which affected the whole of mankind. This wasn’t a punishment. It was a consequence, ‘The wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23). God saw it all and knew where it would lead. They had taken their eyes off God and tried to hide their shame, and they fell, dramatically.
The disciples were out on the lake when a storm blew up. They saw the figure of Jesus walking on the water towards them and were terrified. Peter jumped out of the boat shouting, “Lord, if it’s you tell me to come to you on the water” (Matthew 14:28). And he walked on the waves towards the Lord. Suddenly he became aware of the storm and cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus reached out and grabbed him saying, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Peter had taken his eyes off the Lord, and began to sink.
The disciples were together with Jesus at the final supper before He died. Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me.” Peter was adamant. He would never reject the Lord, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” (Matthew 26:33). Yet, less than twenty-four hours later, Peter had denied three times that he ever knew Jesus. Not only did he take his eyes off the Lord, he turned and looked the other way. Overcome with remorse, he wept bitterly. Not many hours later Jesus was crucified.
Shortly after the resurrection Peter saw Jesus again. The disciples had been out fishing and Jesus was standing on the shore waiting for them (John 21:4). Jesus asked Peter if he truly loved Him. This was the chance Peter had been waiting for and never thought would come. “Yes, Lord,” he said, looking deep into his Master’s eyes, “You know I love You.” Peter was restored in spite of his weaknesses and failures, and commissioned to serve the Lord for the rest of his life.
Let’s not turn away from the love of God that cost Him so much, but look to the One who gives us all things. The grace and mercy of God for those who turn, or turn back, is greater than all our sins put together. All we have to do is fix our eyes on Him, and receive.
Prayer: As I turn my eyes towards You, Lord, and look full in Your wonderful face, then the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of Your glory and grace. I turn again towards You now and receive You afresh, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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