Summary: This sermon was preached the first Sunday of 2002 and it deals with the new beginning Peter had in John 21 after his previous denials of Christ. God always has a plan for our lives after a failure.
A New Beginning
Have you ever swore that you would never do something only to discover that later on you did the very thing that you said you would never do? Now that can be a good thing when you did something positive that you wouldn’t have thought of doing, but often times its something negative. I know when I’ve said, “I’ll never” and then did ,I have wanted to beat up on myself, and ask myself the question, “how could I have been so dumb to do something like that.”
When we look back over 2001, how many of us can see some dumb things we did or said which we now regret. The best thing we can do when we do something dumb or run into failure is to make the decision to end the episode and decide to look for a new beginning. Our lives become too much to handle if we try to carry it all with us at one time.
There is a reason we are alive in the year 2002. Not a single person here is an accident in the eyes of God. You were born, when you were born, because God had a plan in mind for you for this year 2002. You cannot let any of the failures of 2001, keep you from becoming what God wants you to be in 2002.
Let me introduce you to Peter. When Jesus was alive, he chose 12 people as his special disciples. Out of the 12, he chose three disciples that He truly invested himself in, and provided them with spiritual experiences that the others did not have. One of the inner three was Simon Peter. Jesus went even further with Peter and told him he would be the leader among the 12 and would be crucial in the establishment of the church.
Peter was proud of Christ and committed to him. Then one day Jesus told Peter, “when I am arrested, all of you will run and turn your back on me.” Peter’s response was, “not me Lord, I’ve got your back no matter what.” Even if all the rest run away, if they take you to jail, they’ll have to take me. I am ready to die for you if that’s what its going to take.” Jesus responded, “Brother I feel you, but before a rooster crows three times you will deny me.”
Sometimes when we make our commitment to follow God, we do not understand that God’s way of doing things are not our way of acting in a given situation. We might find ourselves saying, “ to do that would be stupid. Noboby is going walk over me without a fight. “ Well on the night when the soldiers came at night to arrest Jesus and everything was about to go down, one of the disciples said, Lord should we fight back with our swords. Before Jesus could answer, “Peter must have yelled out “it’s on”, because he quickly drew his sword, and cut off one of the guy’s right ear.”
But instead of Jesus saying “ This is it! Let’s go for it! he tells them put away your swords. He reaches out and heals the ear of the man Peter just caught off.” When the disciples saw that they were willing to risk their lives fighting and Jesus would not let them fight, they were out of there. They must have thought, “Look if he’s going to give up without a fight then that’s on Him.”
Peter could not understand how Jesus would give up so easily when he still had the power to do miracles. When they took Jesus away, he followed at a distance just to see what would happen to Jesus. Instead he found out what would happen to him. Peter tried to mingle in with crowd as they looked on from a distance. Somebody lit a fire to keep warm, and Peter went over to the fire. But a woman was looking at him, and recognized him. She said, this man was with him. But Peter denied it and said, “Woman, I don’t know him.”
A little later someone else recognized Peter and said, “You also was with him.” Peter shot back, “Man I am not”. After hanging with the group for about an hour, Peter kept on talking. The more he talked, the more they picked up on his northern accent. Somebody said, “You most certainly was with him, because you are from Galilee.” To prove his point this time, “I swear to you, and if I’m lying let me be cursed, I don’t know the man you are talking about.” No sooner than he got the last word out of his mouth, he heard a rooster crowing in the distance.