Summary: Peter did exactly what he said he would never do, & right then the rooster crowed. Remembering Jesus’ words, Peter ran into the darkness & wept bitterly. He had failed Jesus. This brash & boastful fisherman had failed. (PowerPoints available - #269)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoints used with this message are available at no charge. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #269.)
A. Have you ever failed at something that meant a lot to you? Have you ever had that sinking sensation in the pit of your stomach that comes when your hopes & expectations are crushed?
Now maybe there is someone here who has never experienced athletic, or academic, or financial, or social, or moral failure, but I doubt it. I’m convinced that virtually everyone has wrestled, or is wrestling, with failure of some kind.
And I think the most difficult failures for us to get over are the ones that take us by surprise, the ones we don't anticipate. They are generally the ones we thought would never happen to us.
ILL That's what makes the Titanic one of the most famous failures in history. The designers & builders were certain the Titanic was one ship that would never sink. It was the largest ship ever built, & its 26,000-ton hull was believed indestructible.
As it was leaving port on its maiden voyage, a passenger, Mrs. Albert Caldwell, asked an employee, "Is this ship really unsinkable?" He answered, "Yes, lady, God Himself could not sink this ship."
No one ever anticipated the nightmare that occurred when, at 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, this unsinkable ship struck an iceberg & sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic, taking over 1,500 people down with it to a watery grave.
As I said, the most difficult failure to deal with is often the one that takes us by surprise, the one we never expected would happen. So when it does, it is easy to feel as if our world is falling apart.
B. An example of that has to be the apostle Peter. In the upper room on the night before His crucifixion, Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray Him. But Peter boasted, “Lord, even if all fall away…I never will.”
'I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, 'This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.' But Peter declared, 'Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.' (Matthew 26:33-35)
Well, you know what happened. That night Jesus was betrayed & taken to the house of the High Priest for a series of illegal trials. Peter follows, & soon we see him sitting by a fire in the High Priest’s courtyard.
A serving girl recognizes him & says, "'You also were with Jesus of Galilee.' But he denied it before them all, 'I don't know what you’re talking about,' he said." (Matthew 26:69-70)
Three times Peter is confronted with the accusation, "You were with Jesus. You’re one of His followers!” And 3 times Peter denies knowing who Jesus is.
Peter did exactly what he said he would never do, & right then the rooster crowed. Remembering Jesus’ words, Peter ran out into the darkness & wept bitterly. He had failed Jesus. This brash & boastful fisherman had failed.
Now, let’s fast forward a few weeks to John 21:1-19. By this time Jesus has been resurrected from the dead & Peter has seen Him. But Peter’s failure is still eating him on the inside like an ulcer. No matter how hard he tries to convince himself otherwise, he feels that he has failed & thinks he will never bounce back from that failure.
So what does he do? He goes home. He & the rest of the apostles leave Jerusalem & go back home to Galilee. And guess what Peter is doing as chapter 21 begins. He is out in a boat, fishing.
Vs. 3 tells us, "'I'm going out to fish,' Simon Peter told them, & they said, 'We'll go with you.' So they went out & got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing." Peter has gone back to doing what he knows best how to do.
That often happens when people are troubled. A pianist goes to the piano & expresses her mood in her playing. A golfer goes out & works off his frustrations by hitting the ball. And Peter gets in a boat & fishes all night long.
APPL. We have all been in this boat called failure a few times haven't we? And we have wondered, "How can I ever recover? " Well, in the conversation recorded here between Jesus, the risen Savior, & Simon Peter, we learn how.
I. WE MUST LEARN FROM OUR FAILURES
A. There are 3 things we need to do to bounce back from failure. The first is to learn from it. One thing in Peter’s favor, at least, was that he could admit that he failed. Some people can't seem to be able to do that.