“’Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.’ Peter said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me’” (Luke 21: 31-34).

Jesus informed His disciples that one of them was going to betray Him and then He would be tortured and crucified. All of them would abandon Him. Peter couldn’t fathom such a lack of loyalty and injustice. He asserted his commitment: “I will never deny you…I will die for you.” Peter stood up for Christ during the Lord’s arrest, swinging a sword, cutting off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Peter trailed the mob into the enemy’s courtyard. Yet, Peter failed when confronted by a servant girl: “Aren’t you one of this man’s disciples?”

From an outsider’s perspective, this was an epic failure on par with Judas’ betrayal. Failures like this can define the rest of your life. The Bible records people’s failures because the Bible records real life and since we all have to deal with sin, we have to deal with failure.

Peter was confronted again: “Didn’t we see you in the garden?” This time, the question came from a relative of the man whose ear Peter cut off. Peter’s survival instinct knew this was a question to be avoided at all costs: “I don’t know the man.”
Then a third time: “Surely you are one of His disciples; you talk like Him!” So Peter spoke like them, cursing and swearing. For this weak moment, Peter was forever defined as the one who denied the Lord.

Do you deny God? When a heated discussion occurs at work or at a social event and someone speaks against Christianity, do you speak up and defend your Lord? Failures are hard to reconcile. The challenge is not how to refrain from failing, but how to recover. You are not a failure because you fall…only if you don’t get back up. Proverbs 24:17 says, “A just man falls seven times and rises up again.” Failure doesn’t have to be a hitching post; it can be a guide post.

Adapted from “For Pete’s Sake” by Rev. Dr. William A. Lewis