St. Peter and the Unforgivable Sin

When we read the gospels, we discover that the Lord Jesus declared one sin to be “unforgivable.” Blaspheming the Holy Spirit.* And if it doesn’t terrify us that the Divine Mercy Incarnate declared one sin unforgivable, it should.

st-peter-in-penitence-el-grecoLord, we beg You in Your mercy to deliver us from ever even facing such a temptation! Deliver us from such perilous danger! May we never even know what it means to blaspheme the Holy Spirit!

Now, we know that St. Peter did a pretty daggone rotten thing. At table with the Lord, He had declared, “I will die with You, Master, rather than deny You! See, I’m brave and consecrated to the truth, just like You!”

Then, when push came to shove, and the Jerusalemites recognized Peter’s rustic seaside accent, the fisherman said, “Oh, yes. Indeed, I am a Galilean. But I have no dealings with this fanatic rabbi, whom they now rightly condemn as a lawless miscreant. Please excuse me while I go about my business, which most certainly does not involve following this lunatic as one of his disciples!”

Wow.

Rotten. Weak. Cowardly. Small. Faithless. Heartless. What kind of friend is this? An ungrateful, wicked, self-deluding one.

But: None of this involved blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Not at all. Jesus spread out His arms on the cross and gave up His Spirit precisely so that we rotten, weak, cowardly, small, faithless, heartless, ungrateful, wicked, self-deluding sinners could be forgiven.

Christ never expected us to be good before He died to redeem us. We sinners need to behold the Lamb of God, crucified out of love for us, first. Then, we can find the strength to examine ourselves and face the truth.

St. Peter never came close to blaspheming the Spirit which Christ breathed into the world by redeeming us on the cross. When his Lord was crucified for him, faithless, weak, self-deluding Peter loved Christ more than ever before. Peter’s own confused and sinful heart broke with love for his Jesus, crucified for him.

No. The one who blasphemed the Holy Spirit wasn’t Peter. It was… Judas. And betraying Christ to the Sanhedrin did not itself involve blaspheming the Spirit. We know that the Lord Jesus would have forgiven Judas’ betrayal just as freely as He forgave Peter’s.

No, Judas blasphemed the Divine Mercy not by betraying Jesus, but by despairing. Judas blasphemed the Holy Spirit when he made his own evil the ultimate sovereignty of his little life. When he hardened his heart and closed himself off completely from the merciful gaze of the gracious Father.

Lord, we beg You: Pour out Your Spirit upon us, to soften our hearts and illuminate our souls, with the warm light that shines from the face of Christ crucified—Christ crucified for us.

_________

* Matthew 12:31, Mark 3:29, Luke 12:10

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