Summary: Peter failed Christ but he was not a failure. Christ still used Peter to do grate things for His church.
If I were to ask, "Name a great baseball player," Who would you name? You might say Reggie Jackson, Pete Rose, Hank Aaron, or you might say Babe Ruth. Most of know Babe Ruth as the guy who hit 714 home runs, the home run king. For many years Babe Ruth held the record until Hank Aaron broke it several years ago. But most of us would say that Babe Ruth is a great baseball player. Do you realize, ladies and gentlemen, that Babe Ruth struck out 1330 times? He hit 714 home runs, but struck out 1330 times.
Babe Ruth failed, but Babe Ruth was not a failure!
If I were to ask you to name for me a great football player, a great NFL quarterback, you might say Joe Montana, Joe Namath, Bart Starr, you might even say Terry Bradshaw. Terry Bradshaw led his team to four Super Bowls. Remember the mighty Steelers? Yet, do you realize that Terry Bradshaw threw more incomplete passes than 99.9% of the players who ever played the game?
Terry Bradshaw failed, but Terry Bradshaw was not a failure!
If I were to ask you to name for me a great President, you might say George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan, you might say Abraham Lincoln. I think most of us would say Abraham Lincoln was a great President. What do we call him? We call him honest Abe. And yet do you realize that he lost eight elections. He failed in business twice and he had a nervous breakdown.
Abraham Lincoln failed, but Abraham Lincoln was not a failure!
I want to take you back to a story in the Bible. A story about a disciple of Jesus. A son of God who failed, but who obviously was not a failure. Jesus has been betrayed by Judas, the story has taken place in the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus has been arrested, and now He is at the house of Caiphus, the high priest; He’s on trial. The Apostle Peter follows at a distance.
The story begins in Mark 14:66-72
I want you to imagine that in just a few minutes a crazy man runs down this isle. He gets up here on the stage and pushes me aside. He pulls out a gun and begins to wave this gun all over the audience. He points the gun at you and says, "Deny Jesus or die." What would you do?
I’ll be honest with you. I don’t know what I would do. You say, "Jeremy, you don’t know what you would do? You’re the preacher! You’re a Christian! Stand up for Jesus! Stand up and say, ’I believe in Jesus.’ Give Jesus your life!"
I know the verses. I know what Jesus taught in Matthew 10:32-33: "All those who stand before others and say they believe in me, I will say before my Father in heaven that they belong to me. But all who stand before others and say they do not believe in me, I will say before my Father in heaven that they do not belong to me.”
And I know what Paul said in Romans 1:16: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ ..."
If that crazy man held a gun to my head, I wish I could say, "Go ahead and shoot me." I wish I could say that, but I don’t know what I would do.
You see that’s the situation Peter is faced with in Mark 14. It’s a cold, springtime night, and Peter is warming himself by a fire in the courtyard of the high priest, Caiaphas. A girl maybe 14 or 15 comes along and she looks at Peter and studies his face and says, "I know who you are. You are one of the Jesus boys." You know what Peter says? "Who’d you say? Jesus? Ha! I don’t know a Jesus! What are you talking about? You’re crazy!" And all of a sudden in the background a rooster crows.