Matthew 26:31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” 33 Peter said to him, “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.
I have no doubt that Peter and the other disciples were completely sincere when they pledged to stand by Jesus – no matter what. But in the end they failed to follow through, abandoning Jesus in his hour of need. One might expect it was “game over” for the disciples, that the story of Jesus would continue without them. But not so.
Their failure was not the end of their story.
We will read later in the New Testament that Jesus gathered them up, blessed them, empowered them with the Holy Spirit, then sent them to proclaim good news to the world. This they did with great effect, laying the foundations of the Church we know today with well over 2 billion followers worldwide.
No one likes to fail, but we all do. We make mistakes. We betray trust. We make promises we can’t keep. We fall short of expectations. We disappoint ourselves and those we love. I wish it weren’t so, but it is. However, I believe the story of the disciples is a good reminder that failure and disappointment don’t have to have the last word. We may be down, but with Jesus we are not out.
Right now many of us are navigating a world that has turned upside down in recent weeks. We are having to discover new ways of doing things. Failure will be our companion for a while, but that’s okay. Like the disciples, our shortcomings don’t have to define us. As difficult as this crisis may be, I believe our Lord is making us into something new. We will emerge from this season more able. Better prepared. More valuable to the Kingdom of God than ever. Lord, let it be so. Amen.