The Fine Art of Failure: Week 5 - Day 1
Jesus, open our minds and hearts to hear your word today. Allow us to know your presence and hear your voice and give us the courage to follow you.
Matthew 26:31-35 (NIV), “Then Jesus told them, This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”
I like Peter. I think I mostly like him because he helps me feel better about myself. I bet he was, to Jesus, like that kid you have that you love like crazy and that drives you nuts at the same time.
Peter was like a cocky high school boy that thought he knew everything and could do everything. He tried to walk on water and failed. He was with Jesus, James & John at the transfiguration and just couldn’t shut his mouth and enjoy the moment and ends up on the ground in fear.
Peter makes his great confession about the deity of Jesus in Matthew 16:16 (NIV) (for which Jesus blesses him) and then a few verses later has the gall to rebuke Jesus for talking about his death and resurrection to which Jesus replies “Get behind me Satan. You are a stumbling block to me.” Matthew 16:23 (NIV) Ouch!
In today’s scripture Peter makes his bold claim about never disowning Jesus. Next, he lashes out and cuts off a guy’s ear (very godly of you Peter) and then proceeds to disown Jesus three times. Can you imagine the shame Peter felt when that rooster crowed? I don’t know what Peter really did at that moment, but in all the Jesus movies he hangs his head and runs away in shame.
Three days later we find the women at the tomb and the angel appears. What does he say? “Go, tell his disciples and Peter…” Mark 16:7 (NIV) He singles him out! How awesome is that? It’s as if all of heaven has witnessed Peter’s shame and they’re all in on the plan for his restoration. What happens next? Jesus appears to Peter before any of the other twelve (Luke 24:34 NIV). I bet that sent yet another clear message. Finally, Jesus finds the disciples out fishing and over a campfire he restores Peter yet again with his “do you love me, then feed my sheep” conversation beginning in John 21:15 (NIV). After all the stupid stuff Peter did as he followed Jesus around, and after denying three times that he even knew Jesus, Peter was restored in three different ways. I think Jesus really loves this guy!
Peter goes on to be one of the greatest disciples, living courageously, preaching the gospel, healing the sick and eventually dying a martyr’s death.
What does all of this say about us? What does it say about Jesus?
I don’t know about you, but I relate to Peter a lot, at least when it comes to the stupid stuff he does. I’ve failed in so many ways and spoken foolishness so many times. I just picture Jesus with his head in his hands wondering what to do with me.
But Jesus...isn’t he awesome? He saw through Peter from day one. He saw the brashness, the pride, the foolishness, the boldness and the courage. He let Peter stumble around and embarrass himself. He let him fail to the point of deep, deep sorrow and shame, and then he patiently, lovingly and consistently restored him. Through all of those failures and struggles Peter became a great man of God.
Do you think your failures disqualify you? Do you think your weaknesses are your shame? Do you think Jesus is tired of your immaturity? It’s not true. Jesus is a patient, gentle, loving Savior who is willing to let you fail and stumble around because he knows you and he knows who you are going to be and he is always there restoring you to himself.
So keep stepping out. Keep moving toward him however you may stumble along the way. Rest in his goodness and faithfulness. What a beautiful Savior he is!
Jesus we want to know you, but we are weak and are helpless to know you unless you reveal yourself to us. Thank you that you are always restoring us though we fail you time after time. Teach us to rest in the knowledge that you are always at work in us in all of our successes and failures.