“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Matthew 5:48 ESV
This has always been one of those scriptures that I wanted to believe…but I kept getting in the way with all my imperfections.
My brother, Jeff, brought it up the other day, and it felt like inspiration to me…you know, one of those things that can happen in a day, and I say, “I’ve got to write about this.”
Jeff told me that when Jesus told Peter, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me. Three times!”
Jesus could have said, “Hey, Peter, this is gonna be a tough day for you. You’re gonna have to be really strong and remember everything I’ve told you, and, no matter what, DO NOT DENY ME!”
Peter, of all the disciples, would have tried really hard to do good, to be the best of all the disciples, the bravest, the strongest.
But Jesus just told him what would happen,
Just the facts.
And it happened just the way he said.
Peter crashed and burned.
Three days later…well you know that part.
But, Peter, knowing how he had really messed up, went back to fishing.
He figured that was something he could do right.
Jesus didn’t have to tell him anything.
“He just asked him, “Peter, do you love me?”
He told him that he was still useful, he still had something to do.
Jesus was being perfect, as was his Father, showing love to one who felt unworthy of love. A perfect, complete, forgiving, unselfish kind of love that mankind, to this point, hadn’t comprehended.
And he had said, sometime earlier that they (and we) were to be this same way.
Now, it sounded at the time like we would have to try, really buckle down and try to be perfect.
But it wasn’t that.
Being perfect meant being complete. Having everything you need to be what he tells you to be.
It’s all a part of the Gift.
You must be born again, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, accept the very Life into yourself that Jesus carried with him.
Being perfect is not something you can do.
It’s who you are.
If you have been made new.
After Peter was born the second time (see Acts 2) he changed.
He even wrote a letter later on telling other believers (those that had received this new life) that they already had EVERYTHING they needed to become “partakers of the divine nature.”
Being perfect means loving Jesus. Loving Jesus means trusting him and his providence no matter what the circumstances are.
But, here’s the thing, you can’t even do that unless you receive the gift that is offered to you.
A free gift.
A gift that gives you the presence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
And then, you can find out how to be perfect, as the Heavenly Father is perfect.