Sermons

Summary: You can have Victory over failure

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Failure

Intro: REMBER MY FIRST THOUGHTS OF FAILURE

Dad was in the navy; and mom didn't love me

The embarrassment of failing the first grade

Not being able to swim

My life was full of failures

THE DEVIL WOULD MAKE ME THINK I WOULD ALWAYS FAIL

The sun was in the water before Peter noticed it-a wavy circle of gold on the surface of the sea. A fisherman is usually the first to spot the sun rising over the crest of the hills. It means his night of labor is finally over.

But not for this fisherman. Though the light reflected on the lake, the darkness lingered in Peter's heart. The wind chilled, but he didn't feel it. His friends slept soundly, but he didn't care.…

His thoughts were far from the Sea of Galilee. His mind was in Jerusalem, reliving an anguished night. As the boat rocked, his memories raced:

The clanking of the Roman guard,

The flash of a sword and the duck of a head,

A touch for Malchus, a rebuke for Peter,

Soldiers leading Jesus away.

“What was I thinking?” Peter mumbled to himself as he stared at the bottom of the boat. Why did I run?

Peter had run; he had turned his back on his dearest friend and run. We don't know where. Peter may not have known where. He found a hole, a hut, an abandoned shed-he found a place to hide and he hid.…

So Peter is in the boat, on the lake. Once again he's fished all night. Once again the sea has surrendered nothing.

His thoughts are interrupted by a shout from the shore. “Catch any fish?” Peter and John look up. Probably a villager. “No!” they yell. “Try the other side!” the voice yells back. John looks at Peter. What harm? So out sails the net. Peter wraps the rope around his wrist to wait.

But there is no wait. The rope pulls taut and the net catches. Peter sets his weight against the side of the boat and begins to bring in the net; reaching down, pulling up, reaching down, pulling up. He's so intense with the task, he misses the message.

John doesn't. The moment is deja vu. This has happened before. The long night. The empty net. The call to cast again. Fish flapping on the floor of the boat. Wait a minute. He lifts his eyes to the man on the shore. “It's him,” he whispers.

Then louder, “It's Jesus.”

Then shouting, “It's the Lord, Peter. It's the Lord!”

Peter turns and looks. Jesus has come. Not Jesus the teacher, but Jesus the death-defeater, Jesus King … Jesus the victor over darkness. Jesus the God of heaven and earth is on the shore.…

Peter plunges into the water, swims to the shore, and stumbles out wet and shivering and stands in front of the friend he betrayed. Jesus has prepared a bed of coals. Both are aware of the last time Peter had stood near a fire. Peter had failed God, but God had come to him.

For one of the few times in his life, Peter is silent. What words would suffice? The moment is too holy for words. God is offering breakfast to the friend who betrayed him. And Peter is once again finding grace at Calvary.

The text today is about another failure

Text: Mark 14:66 while Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by.


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