“go, tell his disciples and Peter” Mark 16:7 (NIV)
One of the most interesting and beloved of the disciples of Jesus was Simon Peter. There was no doubt he loved Jesus with all his heart. It seems there was nothing he would not do for Jesus, such was his devotion to the Master. Yet for all that Peter failed many times both in public and privately. Let me tell you of some of Peter’s failures that are recorded in the Bible.
In Matthew 16:21-23 we read about Jesus and the twelve going north for a private teaching session by Jesus. It was then, about a year before His crucifixion that He began to teach them about the cross and the resurrection on the third day. Peter objected vehemently and told Jesus this would never happen. Jesus had to rebuke Peter strongly and called him Satan.
A few days later we read of Jesus taking Peter, James and John up the mountain and He was transfigured before them. Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Jesus about His death and resurrection in Jerusalem as Luke 9:31. So Jesus was seeking to help Peter come to terms with the difficult matter of the cross. But poor Peter mistook the purpose of the meeting and suggested the wrong thing. As Peter was rambling on in his fear of the vision, God the Father spoke from heaven and interrupted him. God said, “This is my Son…listen to him.” So Peter was politely told to stop talking and start listening.
In Luke 22:24 we read of Peter and the other disciples arguing about which one of them was the greatest. This event occurred the night in which Jesus was betrayed. Peter lacked humility as seen from this dispute. A little while later Jesus sought to demonstrate to these proud men what humility really was. He started washing their feet. When He came to Peter, Peter objected politely at first and then he became adamant that Jesus would never wash his feet.
Poor Peter did not understand to whom he was speaking. Jesus was very clear in His response to Peter’s refusal that if Peter did not submit to Him then Jesus would not have anything to do with Peter. Given that choice, Peter wisely chose to back down and become submissive to the Master.
After the feet washing, Jesus told the disciples He was going away and they could not come with Him. Once again, Peter not having learned the lesson on humility boasted to Jesus that he would follow Him to the death. Peter sadly overestimated his own courage for when push came to shove in Gethsemane he, along with the others forsook Jesus and fled.
But Peter’s failures that night were not over. Three times Peter vehemently denied knowing Jesus. Our hearts break for Peter. He had the best of intentions and truly loved Jesus but he seemed to mess it up numerous times.
The final flaw we look at in Peter’s career was the situation mentioned by Paul to the Galatian Christians in Galatians 2:11 where Paul had to publicly rebuke him for not living as he should have in the midst of Gentile Christians.
Possibly you can identify with Peter as you review your life. Maybe you feel that you have made too many mistakes for God to keep you as His own. That is a lie from hell. Surely you can see that Peter made numerous and colossal mistakes. He really messed up here and there but Jesus still loved him.
Jesus special love for bumbling Peter is seen in the resurrection message sent to the disciples in Jerusalem, “go tell his disciples and Peter” (NIV). Jesus made special reference to Peter as the Lord knew Peter would be terribly embarrassed by his sins of a few days before.
Can you not see, my friend, it does not matter how you have messed up in life, Jesus loves sinners in spite of their ways. You cannot be too much of a failure for Jesus to love. In John’s account of some of the mess Peter made as recorded in John 13, John tells us that Jesus loved His disciples (and Peter) unto the end. Nothing Peter did wrong caused the love of Jesus for him to diminish or cease.
If you come to Jesus and offer a broken, messed up life to Him, He will wrap His arms of love around you and make you His forever.
Or else you may be a believer and you feel like life has passed you by and nothing good has been accomplished. Do not feel you are too unworthy to come. Jesus loves the Peters of this world and has proven it. Come to Jesus just as you are and ask Him to take your broken life and make something of it.
Peter became a great man for God and his life was a blessing to many. Yours may be also if you come to Jesus without excuse and confess to Him your failures. He loves us as we are and will certainly make something wonderful of us if we trust in Him.