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‘Take your second chance’

Well, we’re going into a new year, and I wonder how many of us are wondering if this is the year we’re going to get it right.

We just last week started a new presidential administration, and we’re wondering whether this time we will do it right. We like second chances.

In Acts II after Pentecost, Peter is preaching to the people of Jerusalem about second chances. He said they were the ones who gave Jesus over to the Romans, killed him, crucified him, but had a second chance — repenting so their sins will be forgiven and they will receive the Holy Spirit.

It’s interesting that it is Peter, isn’t it? Peter sure had his ups and downs prior to this in his relationship to Christ. His most important up happened when Jesus was asking who people thought he was, and Peter, in a moment of great spiritual insight, said “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus commended him: “Blessed are you, Simon — you are Peter and on this rock, I will build my church.” What an up, what a high! But just a few seconds later, Jesus is telling them how he was going to be executed in Jerusalem and Peter takes him aside and rebukes him for saying such things, and now Jesus is telling him: “Get behind me, Satan, you are a stumbling block to me.”

But even this would not be Peter’s worst down. That would happen just a few months later in Jerusalem after Jesus was arrested, and when confronted out in the courtyard, Peter three times would deny Christ, even with a curse that third time. Peter hits rock bottom there.

But notice what happens after Jesus is raised. John tells us about what happened by the Sea of Galilee: Jesus takes Peter aside and asks him three times, “Do you love me, Peter?” and Peter is given the opportunity to say, “Yes I love you, you know I love you.” Peter is given a second chance, and so it is very appropriate that it is Peter who is telling the people of Jerusalem they have a second chance.

Do you need a second chance? Those people of Jerusalem took that second chance — they turned around, joined the church beginning that day with 3,000 new people to a church — the same one of today where it is estimated 30,000 new people are becoming Christians each day in our world.

It is still happening; be a part of it. Make this the year you take your second chance.

Rev. Dale Brown is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian churches. His email address is dalembesq@aol.com.