Church of the Nazarene – East Rock
Stories of Your Life Part 4: Peter
In the story of Peter we see that your failure doesn’t have the power to define your future- Only your savior can do that!
I want to welcome you back to our Sunday morning teaching series “Stories of Your Life”
As a church family we are seeking to understand the meaning and the impact of Passion week through the perspectives and stories of key people involved.
This series is about learning from their lives so that we too can know the forgiveness and life of Christ
As we continue in our teaching series today, we will look at the story of a man who probably experienced many feelings of guilt, shame, and regret following his great failure.
To be a disciple of Jesus doesn’t prevent us from failing-even failing historically- for all the world to see.
As common of an experience as failure can be in our story-It doesn’t have to be final. As we will see in the story of Peter, your failure doesn’t have the power to define your future- Only your savior can do that!
Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”
Peter was in the inner circle of disciples. Often called to go farther with Jesus, to see more miraculous things than the others.
Hours ago, he was willing to die if necessary- now he denies even knowing Jesus at the pressure of a servant girl. Not just once but three times. He betrays Jesus completely at the questioning of a servant girl.
been there before?
You’ve lapsed on a promise to the Lord, or to yourself?
Maybe living in the moment, you really messed up big time.
Maybe you failed in a way you never even thought was possible for you
I’m pretty sure we have all been there in the story of our life- Let me ask a follow up question- What did you do? Or perhaps it’s present tense for you- What are you doing?
That’s a crucial question to consider because what makes some failure final and some just a distant memory- is what we choose to do in this moment.
Here’s the truth we see in Peter’s story today friends- Failure doesn’t have the power to define your future-Jesus does.
Peter in the depths of his despair, under the weight of guilt and shame- he had a choice
He could allow it to crush him-to drive him into hiding or despair
He could put all of his trust, all of his hope in the grace and mercy of Jesus
And friends that’s the same choice you and I have today. The choice is yours- What will you choose?
Despair, hopelessness, guilt, shame, the voice of the enemy that says it’s over? Or will you press into Jesus?
That decision can change everything for you- Just like it did for Peter.
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
A 3-fold denial turned into a 3-fold affirmation of his Love of Jesus.
In Peter’s reply, we begin to see a bit of the humility and repentance he had experienced. No bold claims, no bravado, no affirmations of loyalty this time- he simply says “Yes Lord, you know that I love you”
In these moments, Jesus receives Peter’s devotion- and he gives him a commission. Feed my sheep!
“Don’t stay here son- don’t stay in your failure, don’t stay in hiding- GO- you have a purpose as my child- Go- serve others for my glory.”
“Your failure is not your future now- GO- tell others about me.”
The greatest failure in all of history didn’t define Peter’s future- Jesus did. And the same can be true for you today!
So what’s the difference between Judas and Peter? It’s the difference in response to failure.
What’s your response going to be?
Feeling the guilt, feeling the shame, the regret, the pain of kicking yourself- Or
Running to Jesus?
The story of your life does not have to be defined by your failure- no matter how bad or how many times it’s happened- Only God has the ultimate authority to define your future- But you must make that choice.
Just as Peter jumped in the water- we must decide to leave failure and sin behind and pursue Jesus. That’s called repentance. We turn from sin, and we turn to him.
Jesus is longing for you to return to him. He is longing to embrace you, to redeem and restore you as a son or a daughter.
Will you take that step today?
Failure doesn’t have the power to define your future- only God does.
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