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Monday, March 26, 2012

Sermons: Shim Habte, March 25, 2012 - When is Failure Final?

When is Failure Final?

Both Judas and Peter failed Jesus, one by betrayal and one by denial. One was remorseful but gave up, and one came back repentant but stronger.

Jesus warned Peter that Satan would sift him like chaff, that Peter would deny he knew Him. Jesus said He had prayed for Peter. Peter swore he would never leave or forsake Jesus, that he would be willing to die with Jesus or go to prison with Him. Still, Jesus insisted Peter would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed in the morning.

A line in the Lord's Prayer goes, "deliver us from evil," or as some translations say, "deliver us from the evil one." We do need that prayer to deliver us from the destroyer, don't we? We need to humble ourselves under God's hand so that He can lift us up. Be alert: Satan goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may destroy. We need to stand firm, and God will deliver us.

Was Peter overconfident? Jesus said that if the shepherd is struck the sheep will scatter, and they did. Peter had good intentions, and he really meant it, but his courage failed him three times. When the rooster crowed, Jesus turned from his torturers and looked at Peter.

Why did Peter follow Jesus in the first place? Was it because he hoped to save him? Or maybe because he thought to bring news to the others of the followers? For whatever reason, he was there. And when Jesus' gaze met his at that moment, he ran away and wept bitterly.

Peter knew he was loved, even though he failed. Who among us has not failed on occasion? And when we know we are loved, we know we can go back. Peter remembered, repented, and returned.

On the morning Jesus rose, he told the women to go and tell the disciples AND PETER to go to Galilee where He would meet them. Why did He say, "and Peter?" Maybe to let Peter know He still considered Peter one of the ones He wanted to see?

Peter was restored. Failure is never final for those who repent and return to God.
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