We expect our friends to be loyal. How would you feel if your closest friend cowardly denied knowing you? Friends who forsake you create some of the deepest scars. For 3 ½ years Peter had been groomed by the Lord to be the leader of the disciples after His death, resurrection, and return to Heaven. Yet, when the chips were down, Peter failed.
Peter had heard the Lord’s words. With his own eyes, He had seen diseases healed instantly, food multiplied, storms stilled, and demons overpowered. When Jesus told all the disciples that they would soon abandon Him, Peter boasted, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” (Matthew 26:33)
Only a few hours later, Peter’s bravado failed him, and he denied knowing the Lord. Like Peter, our pride leads us to have an elevated view of ourselves. After his third denial, “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.” (Luke 22:61) Could you imagine how that must have devastated Peter when his eyes locked onto those of the Lord!
Peter failed his Friend miserably. He felt the reality of his own cowardice. Later that day when he saw the Lord nailed to a cross, I’m sure he was filled with shame and regret. When he heard that Jesus was alive, I’ll bet he couldn’t wait to tell Him how sorry he was for failing Him.
After His resurrection, Jesus met the disciples at the Sea of Galilee. The Lord asked Peter three times if he loved Him. I think it was to remind Peter of his three denials. However, when Peter responded that he loved the Lord, Jesus never shamed him and bawled him out for his earlier failures. Instead, the Lord reaffirmed that Peter was to take care of the Lord’s flock (John 21:15-17).
What we learn from Peter is that, even if our failures are different from his, they don’t have to be the final chapter of our lives. God’s grace and the blood of Jesus sacrificed for us encourages us to get back up after a failure, confess our sin, and try again.