Summary: Jesus gives Peter … and us … hope! Hope that failure is not final. There is hope even in the midst of our struggle that our faith would not fail and that we, as Peter, can turn once again back to the Lord.
[Here is a link to a youtube video of me preaching this sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLFppHEJ0fY ]
From their very first encounter, we see a special connection between Jesus and Peter. We find this in the Gospel of John chapter 1 and verse 42 where they first meet. It says that Jesus “looked at him.” Now, this word “looked” is significant for us because we are going to encounter the same word used in our key text for today.
There are multiple words used in the Greek language that can be translated as “looked” … one means to simply see with the eye, another means to look upon with curiosity, but the word used here and in our key text for today brings with it the idea of a concentrated, intense gaze. It describes a look which doesn’t only see the superficial things … Looking beyond those things that lie on the surface, it’s a much deeper look … a look which reads a man’s heart.
The implication is that Jesus looked in to the depths of who Simon Peter was and could see who he would become. He saw him as “Simon” … his common name which means “Reed-like” or “Grass-like”, hinting perhaps at his human weakness and how easily he was swayed as a reed blown by the wind – shaky and unstable, reckless … but Jesus also saw who he would become: “you will be called Peter” … which means a pebble, stone or small rock … it’d be like calling him “concrete” today … Jesus would transform Simon Peter from reckless to rock solid. And, we’re finding out that Jesus can and will do the same thing for us as we surrender our lives to Him and follow His will and His way.
With all of this in mind, let’s get into our focus for today. Turn in your bibles to Luke chapter 22. While you’re finding Luke 22, turn your attention to the screens …
[Show “Cute Kids Fail” Video] https://youtu.be/pmNIxu7y5jQ
Have you ever failed?
Have you ever felt like that little girl and her hula-hoop? Or the little boy jumping in the pool? … you know, you intend for something to go a certain way and in the midst of the process, something goes terribly wrong. You have every intention of things going “this” way and they end up going “that” way.
Have you ever failed? I have.
Growing up, my older brother and I loved to ride bikes. We’d ride our bikes all over the neighborhood. We’d ride our bikes along trails we’d make back in the woods … but one of the most exciting things we’d do on our bikes is jump homemade ramps. We’d build these ramps out of whatever we might find lying around.
On this particular occasion, we’d found a piece of plywood and several old bricks … so we fashioned us this nice ramp at the end of our driveway and were jumping our bikes off the end of the driveway into our backyard.
As is typical with boys … it turned into a competition to see who could jump the highest and the farthest. Now, my brother is two years older than me … he was bigger and stronger, but I was determined to show him was I was made of.
He went first … and he jumped high and far … I knew I had my work cut out for me, but I was ready. I was focused. I was determined. I was channeling my inner Evel Knievel.
Now, for those of you have may not know who Evel Knievel was, here’s an image of what I pictured … [first image of Knievel (looking cool by his motorcycle)] … What I hadn’t pictured was this … [second image of Knievel (CRASH!)]
I hit that ramp going as fast as a 9 year old boy possibly could and I flew off the end … I was at least 6-7 inches off the ground (it felt like 10 feet!). Then something happened that I had not anticipated … to this day, I’m still not sure how this took place, but … everything shifted into slow-motion and as I looked down at my front wheel, I noticed that it had disconnected from the rest of my bike. As it landed, it just kept rolling … as I landed … well, my bike stopped immediately, but I did not. The front forks stuck in the ground and I flew headlong over the handlebars into a front flip landing flat on my back. Not quite what I had intended. Had it been recorded, it would have been perfect for one of those “Epic-fail” videos.
What about you? Have you ever failed?
Sometimes epic fails are brought about by simple mistakes … and sometimes those mistakes are really not that big of a deal. They’re just funny stories about a front wheel coming off a bike or slipping on ice or tripping over you own feet