Have you ever felt like a failure as a wife, mom, friend, daughter and Christian? I know I have. Even in the last few hours I’ve failed miserably in more than one of these areas.
Isn’t it so good of God to have included people in the Bible who were just like us? Simon Peter is one of my favorite character who struggled with the sense of failure too. Let’s take a look at John chapters 13-21 to get a snapshot of Peter through Jesus’ last days.
John 13:6-10 – He at first resisted Jesus doing anything for him, but then as Jesus explained the reason why He had to wash Peter’s feet, Peter jumped to the extreme.
John 13:36-38 – Ouch! How do you think Peter felt after hearing Jesus’ prediction of his denial. I think chapter 18 will give us a clue.
John 18:10-11 – Here we see Peter flying off the handle trying to protect Jesus. I wonder if he was trying to prove himself and his loyalty hoping this would negate any denials of Jesus in the future.
John 18:17, 25-27 – Oh the sinking feeling that Peter must have felt in his spirit when he heard that rooster begin to crow. The devastating feeling of failure. That moment when you realize you’ve done something that totally contradicts what you wanted to do, yet the black mark is there on your conscience.
John 20:1-7 – Isn’t it interesting to note despite Peter’s denial of Jesus, he still stuck with the disciples and mourned with them. It’s a good thing for us to take note of for ourselves, even when we consider ourselves a failure, we need to surround ourselves with those who we know will love us. I think that was the big difference between Peter and Judas.
John 21:1-22 – Peter probably felt led to return to the comfortable life he knew before Jesus came along. Even though he had witnessed the resurrected Jesus, he probably felt the shame of his betrayal and thought “Jesus will never take me back. What can I do for Him now after I’ve let Him down?”
Do you ever feel that way? When you sin or make a fool of yourself, do you ever wonder how Jesus could use you?
Just for fun, turn to Acts 2. This chapter described the coming of the Holy Spirit and the first evangelist for the Church. Verse 14 says that Peter raised his voice and addressed the crowd, and verse 41 says, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
We may look at this story and wonder why Jesus not only forgave Peter for denying Him, but also reinstated Peter as one of the disciples.
Jesus forgave Peter because of His own shed blood, not because of anything Peter had done and certainly not because of Peter’s commitment level.
And the same goes for you and for me. When we have days, weeks, sometimes years of what we consider failures or blemishes on our record, God can and will still use us in some way. Now we may never preach and have 3,000 saved, but we can trust that God will use even our deepest, darkest failures and sins to bring glory to His name.