I’ve just had to have a wall in my house replastered because cracks appeared in it after wood was burned in the fireplace next door during building renovations there. All the old plaster had to come off before new plaster could be applied, a dusty, messy process.
We diligently covered furniture and carpets, creating a dust-free zone through tarpaulins and dust sheets, but even so, the air was thick with plaster dust when we arrived back home and it took time to sweep up all the mess, wash down doors and restore the room to order.
Mess is a part of life. It’s a part we generally don’t like and usually try to avoid, but sometimes it’s inevitable. When the pressure’s on, we don’t always get it right. The mess that results – broken trust, shattered peace, fractured families – can be hard to clean up.
Nicky Gumbel reminds us that Peter knew all about mess. Despite his bluster and bravado, when Jesus was arrested, he followed only at a distance and was quick to deny he even knew Jesus (Luke 22:54-62). His faith apparently disintegrated under pressure.
If the story ended there, it would be a familiar one to us of failure and mess. But for Peter, yesterday’s mess was transformed to today’s message. (Nicky Gumbel) The story doesn’t end with mess. Peter’s sorrow and repentance led him to a place of restoraton. The story of ‘Peter and the Big Breakfast‘ (based on John 21:1-13, which we will be looking at today at the fun day) tells us Peter was ‘ashamed, sad, confused’ as he pondered his denial, Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection. None of it seemed to make much sense to him But as he went fishing (unsuccessfully), he met Jesus again on the beach and all was changed. Peter found forgiveness, affirmation and was given a new job: ‘feed my lambs… feed my sheep.’
From fisherman to fisher of men… from failure to fearless follower… from messed-up Christian to a man with a message and a mission, Peter reminds us that mess doesn’t get the last word with Jesus. When we mess up, there’s still hope.