Summary: Our failures are not final. Jesus looked at Peter and saw his future, not his failures.
John 18:15-18; 25-27
All of us have at least one. All of us have at least one sound; one noise that really annoys us. For some it is the sound of the dentist drilling in your mouth, for others it may be the sound of screeching tires on pavement or perhaps when kids used to rub their fingernails across the chalkboard. But it’s not always the sound that really bothers us. It is often the memories that go with it. If you have ever been in an accident, you know what happens when you hear screeching tires. Clench up. And when you hear it you know something painful is about to happen.
For Peter it was the crowing of a rooster. If you grew up on a farm it would be a signal to get up and start your day. But not for Peter. Jesus told Peter that before the rooster would crow three times that he would deny Jesus three times and he did. These were his words:
• woman, I don’t know him
• man, I am not one of them
• I don’t know what you’re talking about
And I figure that every time after that, when Peter would hear a rooster crow, he would clench up-it was painful. Because it reminded him of the day he denied Jesus. One, two, three times.
We can honestly say that Peter had commitment issues. We know what he was like. We know Peter because he stepped out of the boat and when the waves came up around him, he began to sink any lost faith... We know Peter was quick to react-on one occasion he cut off a man’s ear. We know Peter because we all have one friend like this in our lives. They are good friend when things are going well-but when things get off-they are nowhere to be found. When Peter stepped out and walked on the water we often forget to mention that at first Peter didn’t trust in/believe in Jesus. Peter said, Lord if that’s you... If that’s really you... Stand there while I come out on the water. Jesus basically says, come on. And Peter does. And then he sinks. He sinks because he has doubts. He doubted Jesus and he doubts himself.
Now here is a theological question for you. Did Jesus and know how all of this was going to turn out? Did he know Peter was going to sink that day? Do you know Peter would deny him three times? I think so. And so from the very beginning, Jesus is trying/working to create something new in Peter and he is doing the same for you. Jesus knew Peter would sink; he knew Peter would deny that he even knew him. Jesus knew Peter would fail but he also knew something else... And here it is.
Our failures are not final. Jesus looked at Peter and saw his future, not his failures. Most of us, if we are honest can actually identify with him. We can relate to him.
• Because too many of us act before we think
• we speak before we think
• we trust ourselves but we don’t trust others
• we speak up but for all the wrong reasons
We relate to Peter because we really, really want to be like Jesus but when it comes down to the bottom line---when it comes down to making that commitment, we deny him, we sink; we have more words than we have actions. In short, we have commitment issues. When it comes time to pull the trigger, to cross the line, to step up to the plate, we sink. Up to this point, Peter had been walking with Jesus for about three years. He followed him everywhere. He was there when Jesus change the water to wine. He was there when Jesus called Lazarus out of the grave. The Bible tells us that one time-after the resurrection, that seven of the disciples were together fishing. They had fished all night and had caught nothing. The next morning, Jesus saw them out on the lake and he called out to them... Hey guys, didn’t you catch anything? Somebody always has to pointed out.
He says, throw your net over on the other side of the boat and you’ll catch some fish. So they did and sure enough they caught so many they were unable call them all in. And the Bible says there were all large fish—these were keepers—there were so many they counted them--153 fish. Peter personally witnessed all of these miracles but yet when it came right down to it, when someone said to him, aren’t you the one I saw with Jesus? He said, I am not. Not me. I don’t know him.