To My Friends Who Are No Longer Friends with Jesus
When Peter denied Jesus, Jesus looked at him. If you sense the Lord looking at you right now, you have two choices. You can try to run from the gaze of Jesus just like Adam and Eve tried to run from the eyes of God. Or you can run to the gaze of Jesus and see that there is forgiveness and acceptance and restoration in his eyes.
To my friends who are no longer friends with Jesus: I want you to know that if I am aware of you walking away from Jesus, I have prayed for you and even cried for you. A couple of years ago I was reading The Last Battle from C.S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia” to our kids. I came across a passage that took my breath away and filled my eyes with tears. Tirian, the last king of Narnia, is meeting the former kings and queens of Narnia:
‘Sir,’ said Tirian, when he had greeted all these. ‘If I have read the chronicle aright, there should be another. Has not your Majesty two sisters? Where is Queen Susan?’
‘My sister Susan,’ answered Peter shortly and gravely, ‘is no longer a friend of Narnia.’
‘Yes,’ said Eustace, ‘and whenever you’ve tried to get her to come and talk about Narnia or do anything about Narnia, she says, ‘What wonderful memories you have! Fancy your still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children.’
The reason I got a lump in my throat and then looked at my wife Melanie and saw that we were both tearing up is because we were thinking of you, friends. Walking away from Jesus is not child’s play. At the end of The Last Battle, it is revealed that there has been a crash and the kings and queens are in heaven. They are safe, eternally. Susan is not. But there is still time.
It seemed that you used to be friends with Jesus. You sang to him, you read his Word, you prayed to him, you talked about him with me.
Only God, and maybe you, know if that faith was genuine. But I do know this: the Jesus you used to confess with your lips is the same Jesus who can save you today. It doesn’t matter if it has been years or months of walking away from him, Jesus died and rose again not to make it possible for us to earn our way back to God, but to bring us to God. He will still do that for you if you will come to him.
You are not the first disciples of Jesus to deny Jesus. Do you remember Peter, one of Jesus’s closest disciples and friends? He denied Jesus three times, when Jesus most needed someone to come alongside of him and stand up for him.