If you had to pick a man from the Bible that you quickly related to, who would you choose? I think I would pick Peter in short order. Maybe it’s because I can relate to Peter’s apparent ADHD and ability to speak before he thought things through. More than likely though, I think it would be because of the pendulum swing between Peter’s strong faith and stronger fear at times.
In MMFC we often speak of Peter stepping out of the boat in great faith. Then, we remember that as he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the waves around him, he began to sink. We might even say that Peter’s fear led to his failure.
Probably though the greatest lesson of faith, fear, and failure came from his denial of Jesus in Matthew 26:69-75. When Jesus spoke of the apostle’s future denial of him, Peter quickly spoke up with great faith, stating that he would never do such a thing. I’m quite sure many of us have made similar claims of strong faith before. I know I have.
Hours later, as Jesus was facing torture and the cross, Peter looked around at the possible persecution for him and began to lose his faith. He then fell to failure by three times denying he even knew Jesus. Thankfully we know the story of Peter did not end there. He refused to live in the past failure. Jesus met him after the resurrection and restored Peter’s faith.
In Acts chapter two, Peter rose up to preach the first sermon of the Church where 3,000 people found the grace of God and began to spread the hope of Jesus around the world. While Peter probably felt his life was over after denying Christ, Jesus had another end in mind.
Ultimately Peter spoke up for Jesus all the way to the end of his life. He was unjustly crucified because we would never deny Jesus again. Yes, Peter blew it. But he repented of his denial and turned his face toward Jesus and that is where his real story began.
The truth is that we have all failed more than once in our lives. But that does not have to be the end of our story. Winston Churchill once noted that “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” I wonder if he ever thought about Peter.
The question is not, are we going to fail? Rather, the question is, what will we do when failure comes? Jesus picked Peter back up again. Peter took the hand of Christ and his life changed forever. Jesus will do the same through you.
Will you be honest enough to admit your failure, to own it, and then to give it to Jesus humbly? Will you then allow Jesus to burry that failure? Will you cease looking back at it so that you can push the ball forward down the field? Will you also help other men to get back up after their failure as we strengthen one another? If so, then like Peter, I believe our best days are yet to come.