Luke 22:54‐62; Acts 4:8‐13
Alan Hall, associational missionary
Mulberry Baptist Association
Truth be told, we are all successful at failure. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. We are failures at being sinless; we are not perfect. In fact, believers have all been redeemed from devastating failure — we are saved, forgiven only by the blood of Jesus and not of our own works lest any should boast.
We are loved — Hallelujah! His grace is greater than our sin! This is really good news! God can redeem us from our worst failures. We often approach things in life with good intentions but we sometimes falter. A time of failure can be a devastating time in our Christian life, making us fearful and hesitant to serve again. Our thoughts could be, “I could never be used by God; I could never serve again.
Well, never say never.
Peter messed up. Blew it. He failed big-time, yet learned to rely on God’s love and power to not only serve again but do so boldly, even “turning the world upside down.”
Jesus and His disciples shared the Passover meal and during the meal Jesus predicted that one of them would betray Him. Peter responded by pledging to go with Jesus anywhere, to which Jesus predicted Peter’s denial. Peter does makes an initial display of boldness in the garden of Gethsemane when he cuts off the man’s ear as Jesus is confronted, but Jesus’ prediction of denial will prove true.
Denying Jesus — Luke 22:54‐62
Peter continues to follow Jesus as He is being lead away, but Scripture notes that he follows at a distance. Failure comes when we start to follow at a “safe” distance. We must walk in faith — “just a closer walk with thee” — drawing near to God. The distance gives Peter room to deny Jesus three times. Peter has done the very thing he said he would never do.
Peter has failed the Lord to whom he said he would be faithful, but Peter is not alone in his failure. Unfortunately, we have all denied Christ. When we do things in our own will and strength we deny Jesus as Lord of our life.
Staying close to Jesus leaves less room for failure. It’s harder to deny Jesus when we walk closely with Him.
Restored and Strengthened — Acts 4:8‐12 ; John 21:15‐19
So did Peter quit? Give up as a failure, never to serve again? No. John 21:15‐19 records the wonderful restoration Jesus brings to Peter.
“Do you love me?” Jesus asks him.
“You know that I love you,” Peter responds.
Yes, Jesus knew that. But He also knew that Peter needed to say it. The restoration brought Peter close to Jesus again. Strengthened and empowered by the Holy Spirit in Acts Chapter 4, Peter boldly proclaims Jesus and thousands are saved!
The name of Jesus — the name Peter didn’t want to recognize before — he now proclaims as the cornerstone, the only name by which salvation is possible. Peter has been redeemed and restored from devastating failure.
When we fall, we must get back up or we will never move forward. Maybe you have seen videos of runners who have fallen and a fellow competitor stops and helps them up and across the finish line together. You may not get a ribbon for that but I believe you will get a reward! It is reward in itself to help a fallen brother or sister in Christ back up again.
Amazingly Bold — Acts 4:13
“When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus.” Think this verse through for a minute. God can use you; He can use me.
Can you imagine being so bold and walking so closely with Jesus that people would be “amazed” (or as one translation says “astonished”) by your life and testimony? The question is, can people tell that you have been with Jesus?
In Acts 4:29 the disciples and other believers met for prayer and I love what they prayed. Having just been persecuted for boldly proclaiming the name and message of Jesus, they didn’t pray for God to just fix it, make it all better, or make all the difficulties go away. They prayed for even more boldness to proclaim the message! Amazing. Astonishing.
Live It Out
Following the Lord at a distance can leave room for failure. How close is your walk? Is it safe or amazing?
Would you be willing to pray for more boldness?
Who else in Scripture was redeemed from failure?
Peter needed to say, “I love you” to Jesus. Do you need to do this?