A Follower Who Fails
Peter was a rock star! He had some really rough patches, but I love the way he always bounced back.
The book of Acts picks up where the gospels leave off, and in it we see Peter’s ministry come to life.
He and the other disciples had just failed Jesus miserably. They all deserted him in his hour of need, but Peter’s failure stands out more than the others. We are all very familiar with the fact that Peter denied Jesus three times the night he was betrayed. Three times Peter had a choice to make, and three times he made a bad choice.
Peter is also famous for speaking without thinking and being brash and impulsive. Peter is the one who grabbed the sword and cut off the soldier’s ear when they came to arrest Jesus. Peter, it seems, had all the makings of a bully.
Peter failed time and time again.
But the story doesn’t end at Peter’s failure. Peter went on to became the recognized leader of the disciples and was the first great voice of the gospel. In Acts 2 we read how Peter gave the sermon on Pentecost that brought 3,000 people to Christ in one day. Pretty impressive. Then in Chapter 3, he and John heal a crippled man at the temple gate called Beautiful, and Peter gave a sermon to the crowd that gathered that brought many more believers into the kingdom.
The thing that makes Peter a total rock star is that he didn’t let his failures define him. Peter failed forward!
The life of Peter is an extraordinary example of how it's better to be a follower who fails than someone who fails to follow.
What if Peter had given up on himself after his failures? What if he had stopped doing the work Jesus asked him to do because he was afraid he might fail again and mess up? What if he let himself be defined by his mistakes? Can you imagine it?
The world would be a very different place right now.
So I want to ask you, my friend, have you let the failures of your past keep you from your best future? Do you think you’ve messed up too much to be used by God? Are you failing to follow because you are afraid to fail?
I say fail away! Go out there and make mistakes. Learn from them. Grow. Do better next time. Fall down and get back up and try again. Follow the awesome example we have in Peter.
Jesus knows that none of us are going to get it right all the time. In fact, when Jesus nicknamed Peter the “rock,” he knew exactly how Peter would fail him along the way. Yet Jesus left Peter with the words, “Feed my sheep.”
We are all being pushed to our absolute limits right now with this quarantine situation, and we are probably failing at times in the midst of it. I know I am. I’ve lost my patience with my husband. I’ve wallowed in self-pity. I’ve focused on what I don’t have instead of what I do.
But I hope we can let the story of Peter inspire us! We don’t have to get it perfect because Jesus already did that for us on the cross. He has taken the pressure off each and every one of us and simply asks us to follow.