Today we continued our study of Matthew (Part 2) with a focus on 26:63-75. Although we instinctively fear failure, it’s an essential part of our spiritual growth. As we follow Jesus He expects us to fail. In fact, He even delights in it because it gives Him the chance to help us grow closer to and more reliant on Him.
We live in a society that puts a very high value on “winning” and “success”. As a matter of fact, I grew up fearing failure – failing in my schoolwork, failing in my sports activities, even failing at my chores. My worst fear was that of failing to live up to the expectations of my father. At times, this fear was so intense that I actually would avoid even trying something at which I thought I might fail. In our lesson today we talked about Peter’s failure. After vowing that he would die for Jesus, Peter denies that he ever knew Him. That’s failure of a pretty extreme kind.
Scripture tells us that God uses everything for His purpose – “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). “All things” means all things – the good, the bad, and especially, the ugly (like denying our Savior). After the rooster crowed, after a lot of shed tears, and after some intense soul searching, Peter never again denied His Savior. In fact, a few weeks later in Jerusalem, he preached a dangerous sermon that brought 3,000 people to Christ. Of course, we should never try to fail Jesus, but when we do (and we will) – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” – 1 John 1:9.
Please note that next Sunday, May 21, Willie Hart will lead us in the continuation of our study of Matthew (Part 2) as we consider Matt. 27:33-66. This passage shows us the extent of the humiliation and horror of the cross that Jesus endured to pay the redemption price for sinful humanity.