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A Follower Who Failed

Peter was minding his own business, doing what he was incredibly familiar with, fishing, when Jesus approached him on the shore of the Sea of Galilee with the simple words, “Come, follow me.” (Mark 1:17) Impulsive Peter followed Jesus “at once.” He didn’t hesitate for a second.


It’s interesting to note that the last words Jesus said to Peter when he appeared to him after His resurrection were very similar, “You must follow me.” (John 21:22)


And follow he did...and he did so immediately.


Peter, whose actual name was Simon, was a very ordinary person, nothing spectacular. Even after he became a disciple of Jesus, he was often brash and impulsive, often spoke without thinking it through, and he gave in to fear and doubt at times; yet he was part of Jesus’ inner circle. And Jesus told him, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18 NIV)

Why in the world would Jesus call Peter a rock when he failed Jesus so miserably in His time of need, denying that he even knew Jesus when Jesus was being accused and sent to the cross? Jesus knew full well that Peter would deny Him, yet He still gave Peter that powerful name.




What did Jesus see that others perhaps didn’t?


I think he saw someone who would do the one thing he asked him to do from the beginning, follow. And when he failed, Jesus knew he would get back up and follow Him again and again and again.


There’s so much hope and beauty in the story of Peter for followers like us who often fail. When I fail, I often think that my failure is going to somehow keep me from being used by God. I believe the lie that my mess-ups are somehow going to mess up God’s plans.


I’m learning more and more that I’m really not that powerful!


I find incredible hope and encouragement in the life of Peter. He denied Jesus three times, but Jesus redeemed every denial in His final conversation with Peter, asking him three times if he loved Him. It’s a beautiful interchange that offers grace and forgiveness for a follower who failed.


Just like we do, my friends.


The thing I admire about Peter is he’s the one that got out of the boat and walked on the water! Yes, he started sinking when fear set in, but he’s the only disciple who had the courage to get out of the boat!


I love that after the resurrection when Jesus appeared to the disciples on the same beach that He had originally called Peter to follow, once Peter found out it was Jesus who was speaking to them on the shore, he grabbed his cloak and jumped in the water to get to Jesus.


Maybe I love Peter so much because I can be impulsive at times too!


I was blessed to be in the area where these interactions between Jesus and Peter occurred on the Sea of Galilee. It’s a gorgeous area. The picture above is my feet touching the water.


I took a rock from the beach to remind me of my time there. It’s a simple black rock, doesn’t look special at all. Kind of like Peter.

Kind of like you and me.


But with the power of Jesus, that simple rock can become the foundation of the church! Jesus didn’t need perfect people; He took care of that on the cross! He simply needs us to be willing to go where He says go and do what He says do.


Like Peter.


And I believe the greatest lesson we can learn from Peter is that he knew it was better to be a follower who failed than failing to follow at all. Peter was passionate and bold and willing to follow Jesus to his death, a death on the cross, just like his beloved Savior. Only Peter demanded that he be crucified upside down because he didn’t feel worthy to be crucified like Jesus was.


Yes, Peter failed miserably at times, but he went on to bring 3,000 people to Christ in a single sermon at Pentecost. Wow!


So find hope, my friend, if you feel like you’ve failed too much to be used by God. Peter was a follower who failed, but he got back up and became one of the greatest voices for the Gospel. He did go on to build the church, just as Jesus said he would. And it all started with a simple choice on that beach to follow Jesus.


Are you willing to follow too?


Love and hugs,



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