“Simon, Simon.” Jesus said, “Look, Satan has been allowed to have you that he may sift you like wheat.”

Christ’s words echoed in Peter’s mind as the cock crowed a third time. He shoulders slumped as unchecked tears poured from his eyes.

At what point did Peter remember Jesus’ message in its entirety? But I have prayed for you that your faith may not wholly fail. And you—when you have turned again—strengthen your brothers. Was it when he fled the courtyard of the high priest, or was it while Christ hung on the cross? Was it the next day when he gathered with the other disciples, minus one, in the upper room, or was it on Easter morning when Mary Magdalene proclaimed, “I have seen the LORD”?

Peter was the first disciple to grab his cloak and run to the empty tomb, for the truth of Mary’s words, the reality of the resurrection, made Jesus’ staggering words about not failing completely, turning back and strengthening his brothers possible.

Like Peter, I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and I have witnessed heartbreak in Jesus’ eyes.

I, too, have a choice. I can linger outside the courtyard, crying; I can hide away in my room, embarrassed and ashamed; or I can grab my cloak and run beyond the cross to the empty tomb where my sins have been forgiven, and the victory won. I can strengthen my brothers and sisters, my children and grandchildren, by sharing the message of God’s redemption in my life.

I have chosen Christ. What will you choose?