Luke 22:54 Then (the authorities arrested Jesus) and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. But Peter was following at a distance. 55 When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” 59 Then about an hour later still another kept insisting, “Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about!” At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.
Peter was bold in his proclamation of support and allegiance to Jesus only a short time before Jesus’ arrest described in today’s passage. But in the moment of truth Peter faltered to the point of repeatedly denying he’d ever known Jesus. The last verse here says it all.
Yet, despite this epic fail, Jesus didn’t hold it against Peter. Instead of cutting ties with Peter, Jesus actually sought Peter out and invited him back into the fold. Peter would become one of the pillars of the early church. Over time he was able to put this failure behind him. Jesus certainly forgave him. I wonder if Peter was able to forgive himself.
Failure is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to define us. With Jesus there is forgiveness and a second chance.
Lord Jesus you know my faults and failures, of which there are many. Thank you for the mercy and grace you extend to all who call on your name. Give us grace to also forgive ourselves for our failures and disappointments. Amen.