Summary: This sermon focuses on Peter’s restoration by looking at the impact of his denials and what he learned from it, primarily that he needed to be honest with God about His spiritual condition.
During a Pastor’s meeting, an old pastor stood up to testify to his faith. Yet his testimony surprised a number of People. The pastor stood up and looked at the group and said, “I am a lay pastor of a small, not-growing church. I am not ordained. I am not seminary trained. I was asked to leave both Bible colleges I attended. I am divorced and remarried. On any given day I am capable of being a jerk with my wife and family. I am terminally insecure, which causes me to compensate with bouts of arrogance. At times people irritate me, and I hide from them. I am impulsive, which causes me to say things I shouldn’t and make promises I cannot keep. I am inconsistent.
My walk with Christ is a stuttering, stumbling, bumbling attempt to follow Him. At times His presence is so real I can’t stop the tears, and then, without warning, I can’t find Him. Some days my faith is strong, impenetrable, and immovable—and some days my faith is weak, pathetic, helpless, knocked about like a paper cup floating on the ocean in the middle of a hurricane.
I have been a Christian for 45 years. I am familiar with the vocabulary of faith, and I am often asked to give advice about matters of faith. But I am still a mess. I am light-years away from being able to say with Paul, “Copy me.” I am 56 years old and still struggling—a flawed, clumsy, unstable follower of Jesus. A bona fide failer.”
Have you ever felt like you let somebody down? A spouse, a boss, a team-mate; it’s not the best feeling in the world, especially when you had boasted how they could beyond a shadow of a doubt depend on you. You could be trusted, you wouldn’t let them down. But you did. Now to disappoint someone who loves you hurts, but to disappoint the One who laid down His life for you, that’s painful.
Peter’s life was one of ups and downs. After boasting that he would never leave Jesus, Peter watched from a distance as Jesus is led away. Peter followed at a distance, close enough to see Jesus, but not to close to be seen with Jesus.
And as Jesus was being tried in the Kangaroo court of the High Priest, Peter stood outside and chose to warm himself by the fire, and three times he was recognized, three chances he had to make a bold stand for his Lord, and three times he blew it. And when the rooster crowed, scripture says, that Peter wept bitterly. A bona fide failure.
Yet three days later, the woman came with news of the amazing. The tomb is empty, Peter is elated, and Jesus appears to Peter and the others. Yet I wonder what must have been going through Peter’s mind. Imagine it this way, suppose you witness a crime, and the District Attorney who just happens to be your good friend, calls on you to testify. Your testimony can make or break the case. Yet you are afraid to do so and even though others are counting on you, you refuse to testify due to fear. The district attorney manages somehow to win the case and you are glad that the criminal is behind bars. Yet how will the District Attorney view you now. Will he still call you friend, or was your act of cowardice to much.