By Gene Price
Pastor, Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, Gleason
At the Olympic Games every four years, 90 percent of the best athletes in the world do not win a medal. They try but they fail. Likewise, the Bible records many people who failed. Oftentimes we fail at the point of our greatest strength. The Bible says that Moses was a meek man, yet he lost his temper and struck the rock. Abraham was called the father of faith, but he lied twice, stating that Sarah was not his wife. David was called a man after God’s own heart, yet he commited adultery.
Peter’s name is added to that list in that he boasted that even if all the other disciples forsook Jesus; he would not. This is the same Peter who had courage to get out of the boat and also the same man who pulled out a sword to defend Jesus in the Garden. Now that Jesus had been arrested Peter followed at a distance. Peter ended up warming himself by the fire in the courtyard of the High Priest. There by the fire Peter denied Jesus three times just as Jesus said he would. It appeared that Peter was a failure but thankfully failure was not final in Peter’s life.
Peter realized that he was not as strong as he first thought. Peter had said that even if he had to die with Jesus, he would not deny Jesus. Peter was confident of his strength and loyalty. After denying Jesus three times, Peter heard the rooster crow. At that point, Peter realized he had failed in his loyalty to Jesus. Peter had a desire to be a faithful follower of Jesus but now, when put to the test, he had failed.
Peter discovered that God’s love and forgiveness was not dependent on success. Peter discovered that Jesus still loved him in spite of his failure. Verse 61 states that “the Lord turned and looked at Peter.” Warren Wiersbe writes, “It is to Peter’s credit that all that the Lord had to do was look at him to bring him to (the place of recognition of what he had done) repentance.” Peter probably remembered the words of Jesus in Luke 22:32: “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Peter learned from his failures. Peter went out and wept bitterly. He had great remorse. Peter’s remorse was different from Judas’ remorse.
Unlike Judas, Peter’s remorse led him to make some changes in his life. Just as Peter denied Jesus three times by the fire, in John 21 Jesus asked Peter “Do you love Me?” three times by the fire.
Peter proved by his actions that he was serious in his love for Jesus. In Acts 4, Peter stood in the same courtyard in which he denied Jesus and boldly proclaimed Jesus before the same crowd in which he had denied Jesus. Filled with the Holy Spirit, the same man who had cursed and denied Jesus earlier was now standing unafraid before the same crowd that called for the crucifixion of Jesus. This crowd realized that there was something different about Peter. They knew Peter was uneducated and unschooled, yet they were amazed and recognized that they (Peter and John) had been with Jesus.
Spending time with Jesus made all the difference in Peter’s life. Jesus wants to make that same difference in our lives. Do others see through your life that you have “been with Jesus”? The same Jesus that impacted and changed Peter’s life waits to impact and change our lives as well.