Pastor Nick Nilson says this so often: “Following Jesus for the long-haul isn’t about not falling down; it’s about getting good at getting back up!” This is profoundly true. Failure is written in pencil. When we fall, we repent and then we get right back up! Get up today! You can’t wallow in your shame forever. You can’t walk around feeling guilty forever. Get up. Get back up.
In our text today, a few ladies go to the tomb after the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, and they see that he is no longer there. An angel says to the women, “Go tell the disciples that Jesus is going to meet them in Galilee. Tell the disciples and Peter.” He singled Peter out. Why? Because he wanted the message to be clear that Peter was still a part of His plan. I can feel the essence of what God was speaking in those two simple words—"and Peter.” It’s as if he was shouting, “Peter, I know you blew it. I know you messed up, but I’m not done with you. I want you to meet me somewhere, and if you’re going to get there, you can’t stay here. So get up on your feet in the grace and the power and the love that I just died for you to have and get moving. Get back up.” Somebody reading this needs to hear that today. Get back up. So you fell down. “The righteous fall seven times, and they get back up.” The righteous fall? The righteous fall. The righteous? That’s the best of us, the cream of the crop, those on the top shelf. We fall, but we get back up. Get up standing in the righteousness of Jesus. Then get back to what you were called to do because who you have been called to be hasn’t changed. If you’ve made a mistake but repented, I’ve got good news: You’re forgiven! So get up. Scripture says that when the ladies came to tell the disciples that the tomb was empty, all of the disciples stayed seated, but Peter got up and ran to the tomb to see it for himself. If Peter could get back up, so can you.
When we flip forward to the book of Acts, we see Peter in Acts 1 “constantly praying” and “constantly devoting himself to prayer.” (It seems like he learned the crucial need for a guarded prayer life.) He’s leading the troupe, choosing more disciples, etc. He didn’t just get back up. He got busy doing what he was created to do. Peter checked himself back into the game. I have a question to those reading this who may feel disqualified: Who disqualified you? Who took you out of the game and put you on the bench? Jesus? I don’t think so.
The voices of guilt and shame will whisper in your mind and make you feel like your calling has been sidelined. Your negative thoughts will say, “They’ll never listen to you again. You have no real authority. No one will trust you.” Every one of those thoughts is dead wrong. Jesus has got your back. He’s fighting for you. David said, “Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Not just the good days, the days that I get it all right and make no mistakes. No, every single day goodness and mercy are following me. So get busy! Get back to what God has called you to do. God’s mercy is new every morning.