For as long as I can remember, there has been scandalous behaviour by followers of Jesus. While there may be extreme hurt and disappointment, I am no longer surprised when a “good” Christian sins. In fact, I am more surprised when people are surprised.
A couple of weeks ago, I was reading from Luke 22:31-34. These verses tell us the story of Jesus informing Peter that he was going to deny Jesus. Peter was a friend and extremely committed follower of Jesus. Imagine the shockwaves that would have gone through the room as Jesus tells Peter he is not only going to sin, but he is going to deny even knowing Jesus.
With this in mind, here are some important principles for us to take from this passage of Scripture:
1. If Peter can fail Jesus – anyone can
Peter did the same thing you and I would do – become defensive and fight for our reputation. How could someone who loves Jesus deny knowing Him? No matter how much he fought for his reputation, he could not change his humanity.
I have often found myself thinking how much other people need to be more committed in their walk with Jesus. The truth is, I am fully capable of failing Jesus and sinning greatly. Deep sin is not a problem any one of us is immune to.
2. The failure of some is not the failure of the Saviour
I really believe Peter’s failure is a reminder that only Jesus is our hope. We can easily look to certain Christians and put our hope in them, but there is only one Saviour for our sins and His name is Jesus Christ.
Peter’s failure was not the failure of Jesus. In reality, Peter’s failure was an opportunity for the Saviour to succeed in showing forgiveness and grace.
When a committed Christian fails – pray for them, love them, and seek to restore their walk with God. Guard your heart from becoming bitter and remind yourself Jesus is still the Saviour for all.
3. Failure is not necessarily the end of the story
There are always painful consequences for our sin. People are hurt, relationships may be broken, and even good legacies can seemingly be destroyed. Yet, from the perspective of Jesus our failure does not need to be the end of our story.
In Peter’s case, Jesus says in Luke 22:32, “when you turn back – strengthen your brothers.” I love that … when you turn back. Luke 22 teaches us Jesus even prayed for Peter’s faith. If you continue to track with Peter, you see how Jesus used him to radically advance the mission of forgiveness and hope to the world.
If you were once a committed follower of Jesus and you have failed him greatly, your failure is not necessarily the end of the story. Jesus prays for your faith. He wants you back walking with Him. He wants to use you for His purposes. As a friend of mine says, “Jesus takes your mess and turns it into a message.”
Yes, there may be consequences from your sin. Those consequences shouldn’t keep you from Jesus, they should send you running to Him for forgiveness and hope and purpose.
I am no longer surprised when a “Good” Christian fails. This passage has helped me become even more aware of how deeply I am capable of failing Jesus, and it has given me hope for all of us. Even the most committed Christian still needs Jesus to be their Saviour.