with Skillet The WriTer’s room Skillet’s latest single, “Forgiven” takes the listener on a journey that allows the true nature of God’s grace and mercy to come alive. Here, they share the biblical foundation from which the song was written. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). - John 1:40-42 When Peter’s brother Andrew introduced him to Jesus for the very first time, his name was not Peter. It was Simon. Sometimes they called him Simon the Zealot. He was young, brash and outspoken. He tended to act before thinking and he carried a sword, just looking for a fight. He was a religious school dropout and often went fishing during Jesus’ seaside sermons. He certainly wasn’t the apostle type. But from the very first moment Jesus met Peter, he saw him in a different light. Jesus took one look at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas.” The name Cephas was translated Peter, which means “rock.” In other words, Jesus saw the tremendous potential in Peter to become a spiritual leader. Keep in mind that this was before Jesus got a chance to really know Peter. He hadn’t yet boasted of being the greatest disciple; he hadn’t yet cut off a man’s ear; he hadn’t cursed at the Samaritans or denied knowing Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. This was all still to come. But by giving Peter a new name, Jesus was essentially saying, “In spite of everything you’ve ever done, are doing now or will ever do in the future, you are forgiven. I see you as a new person.” Most of us are held back from the life God has for us because we think our sins are unforgivable. We make decisions based on how we see ourselves, rather than how God sees us. This isn’t to say that we wallow in grief or self- pity, but we disqualify ourselves from God’s blessings. We condemn ourselves before God has a chance to restore us. The truth is, if you’ve decided to follow Jesus, he has already forgiven you. He has looked past your faults and your selfish tendencies and given you a new name. It’s a name that speaks to your potential in Christ. As Peter went on to follow Jesus, he definitely made mistakes. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus reverts back and forth between calling him Simon and Peter depending on how he was acting at the moment. At one point, in a moment of frustration, Jesus even told him, “Get behind me Satan.” But these names were not meant to condemn Peter. They were meant to remind him of his new calling as a child of God. Before Jesus was crucified, Peter committed the ultimate offense against him by denying that he ever knew him. If there was any sin that could be unforgivable by Jesus, it was this one. Peter must have thought his future was compromised. But when Jesus rose from the dead and visited his disciples again, he pulled Peter aside to ask, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” In this surprising moment, Jesus restored Peter as the spiritual shepherd and leader of his followers. In spite of everything Peter had done to ruin his chances, he was still forgiven. And so are you. For more on Skillet and their unparalleled crossover success, check out this month’s Fringe Crossover spotlight. more CliCk here to hear the song, “FORGIVEN.” 58 CCM