Matthew 26.75 - And Peter remembered the words of Jesus, when He had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
In the first two articles of this series we have spoken of this army of slain of whom Ezekiel speaks. We explained that some were killed by gossip, others by a fall in sin, here we would like to approach failure.
Peter is an example that leaves us the Word of a man who has experienced many failures. He was a professional sinner, but the Bible shows him in the exercise of this profession three times. Twice he had worked all night without taking anything (Luke 5.5 and John 21.3). The third time he had caught one fish while fishing, and again it was on a Word of the Lord (Matthew 17:27). We can see that Pierre did not have a very successful professional life.
In the "ministry" Peter also failed, while like all the other disciples, he wanted to be first. He had received from heaven a wonderful revelation directly from the Father (Matthew 16.16), with this experience he wanted to "prophesy" to Jesus that He would not die (Matthew 16.22)! What a disappointment when Jesus is going to apostrophize him severely by telling him that he is inspired by the devil himself. Another example of failure: when he will want to enter a higher level of faith and walk on water. He took a challenge but he will fail miserably and if Jesus did not intervene, he would have drowned (Matthew 14.30)! The most painful failure was probably the one in which he denied his Lord three times, he who proclaimed loudly that he would go to the death to follow him, he who was ready to fight in the garden of Gethsemane and who was parading before a simple maid. Pierre had the merit of trying, of risking, but let's face it, he had to have "big on the potato", do not you think? The good news is that this man has become an extraordinary pillar in the early church, that he has had wonderful "successes" in God's work after these negative experiences.
We would like to give you a word of encouragement. With God, failure is never the last word. For that, I would like us to analyze three forms of failure.
At first it is apparent failure. God does not have the notion of failure that the thought of the world has. For the world, success depends on a number of criteria that society imposes. Success must pass through material comfort, popularity, power, idolatry ... Despite the fact that some human beings have possessed all this and that they have manifestly demonstrated that they had failed in killing themselves, the world does not draw the necessary lessons. When Jesus died, the situation seemed to announce a bitter failure. The miracle worker had been eradicated. The traditional religion had triumphed by eliminating the "nuisance". All his disciples were scattered and lived in the hole of fear. In a few weeks, who would still think of His powerful sermons and miracles? Hell was partying, the evil cherub had conquered the Son of God! Today we know that the death of Christ was the final defeat of the prince of darkness, that the message of Christ spread throughout the world and that the small handful of disciples of departure became myriad of myriads. Beloved, let us judge for nothing before the time! We may have the feeling of having failed but it is not so.
The second form is the feeling of failure of the beginning. If we think of Moses: He is sent by the Lord for a specific mission and he has the promise that God will accompany him with powerful miraculous signs. What is the fruit of the first meeting with Pharaoh? Not only are the Hebrews not liberated, but their slavery becomes even more painful (Exodus 5). After the ten wounds, Pharaoh procrastinates but does not give in. Then there is the obstacle of the Red Sea and a tragic end if ... The success was complete when the Red Sea closed on Pharaoh and his army! Imagine that Moses was discouraged at the first interview, or the fifth plague, or even the tenth! Success sometimes takes time, tenacity, perseverance and determination. Some tried things but they gave up on the road thinking they had failed.
The third form is obvious failure. If we go back to Peter, he failed when he denied Jesus three times. He thought he could brave death out of love for his Lord but he collapsed. Why ? Because he confided in his own strength. He took from him what God wanted to do through him. He needed to be very clear about himself to get into the salutary dimension of: it's God doing through me, I'm just a channel. It is He, and He alone, who creates in us the will and the doing (Philippians 2:13).
These few lines are addressed to you who today have abandoned your destiny in God because you believe in failure. Perhaps this failure is only apparent, but in depth God is doing a work of victory. Maybe you started well but you got discouraged by the opposition that got up, you saw the power of God at work by your hands but you thought that situations will never change. Finally, you may have failed miserably! You live in guilt, in the feeling that God is rejecting you, in the hole of fear, in the most complete discouragement having no one to talk to ...
We want to finish this article by how Jesus restored Peter. In the forty days that followed his resurrection, Jesus devoted a special time to Peter. We imagine that Peter's heart was pounding in this one-on-one interview and he did not dare to look Jesus in the eye. Your restoration must go through this face to face! As long as you flee from the Lord's eyes, you will not be able to be restored. The only question the Lord will ask you is, "Do you love me? ". If you can answer in the affirmative, then your restoration can be complete. Jesus did not blame Peter and He will not blame you either! Just do you like Him? If there is an ounce of love for the Lord in your heart, anything is possible! Take courage in what Peter has become, it is YOUR future if you enter this one-on-one with the Lord. No need for excuses, complicated explanations, pretense ... Just this heart to heart with the Lord who loves you, not for what you did or not do, but for whom YOU ARE!
With all our affection.
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