But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. – Matthew 26:35, NIV
When Jesus began to talk of His coming death, it was Peter who piped up first. “I’ll never deny you even if I die with you.” He proclaims this confidently, thumping his hand over his heart.
But just a short while later, Peter goes back on his word. Not just once or twice but three times. Three times he has the chance to proudly proclaim that he knows who Jesus is. Yet each time, he betrays the Rabbi and his friend.
Can you relate? Have you ever betrayed what you knew to be true just so you would stay safe? Maybe you didn’t stand up for the kid who was getting bullied; you just turned a blind eye.
Perhaps you didn’t turn off that pornographic ad when it came across your phone screen. Maybe you didn’t comfort a friend struggling with depression because it would mean you had to relive your most painful moments.
Betrayal flows through our veins. Like Peter, we’re left to weep bitterly on the doorstep of failure. But this is not the end of the story. Jesus makes an interesting statement when he predicts Peter’s coming betrayal. He says:
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32, NIV)
Did you catch that? Jesus used the words, “when you have turned back.” Failure doesn’t have to be a permanent destination. You don’t have to live in the shadow of your shame for the rest of time. Jesus has paid the price to set you free and enable you to walk in victory.
Jesus, thank You for the Cross! Thank You for holding onto me even when I fail. Please strengthen me. Help me to remember that failure isn’t fatal and it doesn’t get the last word. In Your name, Amen.