Text: Luke 22:31-34, 54-62 | Listen to Message
When You Fail The Unfailing God
He boasted, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death!”
He promised, “Though they all fall away, I will never fall away!”
He bragged, “Even if I must die with you, I will never deny you!”
Yet before the rooster crowed in the wee hours of the following morning, Peter had completely disavowed his relationship with Jesus, not once, not twice, but three times: “I’m telling you I don’t even know him!” To enhance the credibility of his bold-faced lie, he cemented it with a curse.
Peter’s fall from – and subsequent restoration to – grace is one of the most compelling stories in the Bible. How could one of Jesus’ closest friends just up and abandon him in his hour of greatest need? What happened to all his bravado? Did he love and trust in Jesus or didn’t he?
The simple fact is Peter’s fear got the best of him. His love was real. But in those moments when Jesus seemed resigned to surrender to the powers of darkness and go to a bloody cross, Peter’s fear was even more real. He repudiated his Lord and withdrew into the seclusion of self-condemnation and shame.
Jesus had plainly stated, “Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33). Surely, Peter was finished.
Except for one thing:
Jesus had come for people just like Peter. Yes, Peter deserved a God-forsaken death. But, instead of turning his back on Peter, Jesus did three incredible things for him: 1) He prayed for Peter that his faith would not utterly fail; 2) He died in Peter’s place, bearing the Father’s rejection that Peter’s rejection deserved; and 3) He rose from the dead for Peter, bringing him hope through the forgiveness of his sins. Though Peter failed his Christ, his Christ did not fail him.
You see, ultimately, your salvation doesn’t depend on how tightly you hold onto Christ, but on how tightly Christ holds onto you.
Isn’t that Good News?! There are times when trials seem so large, and God seems so small, that your faith is inclined to fail. And we’ve all denied Jesus, if not by the things we say (like Peter), at least by the things we’re afraid or ashamed to say. But Jesus is praying for us, too. And he died and rose again for our forgiveness. So take up the gifts of godly repentance and renewed faith, and continue on with this Jesus, whose grace is abundant and whose love never fails.