When I was a child someone told me the story of a young preacher who was asked to share God’s Word with prison inmates. The preacher was inexperienced and nervous but grateful for the opportunity. Stepping onto the little platform from which he would address the prisoners, he tripped and fell. As you can imagine, the prison reverberated with boisterous laughter. Slowly the preacher rose back to his feet, dusted himself off and said: “All of you have fallen, just like me—but I got back up”!
He proceeded to tell them that Jesus had died for their sins and by doing so made it possible for everyone who would look to him in faith to be forgiven, enabling them to get back on their feet. Sure, they still would have to finish their time of incarceration, but by believing in Jesus Christ they would be freed from the prison of their own sins.
God’s Word is filled with examples of men and women who “blew it”. Peter is one of them! He was the apostle, who usually was the first to speak—sometimes it seems without first engaging his brain. He had just strongly stated that even if all others would desert Jesus—he would never do so, in fact he was willing to die for Jesus.
Only a few hours later he had denied even knowing Jesus three times for fear of his own life. Realizing how badly he had blown it, he broke and wept bitterly. Shame and humiliation washed over him and he may have been afraid, that Jesus would never forgive him. Yet, after Jesus had been crucified and raised from the dead he appeared to Peter, asking him three times “Do you love me”? There is no doubt, that this reminded Peter of the three times he had denied Jesus. This helped Peter to face his failure, to accept Jesus’ love for him and to be sure, that he had been forgiven.
No matter how badly we may have blown it, God is able to forgive us, because Jesus bore the punishment for our sins.
If you find yourself in the place of failure today—look up to Jesus, confess your sins to him and accept his forgiveness and love. He will put you back on your feet!
© 1999 Volkhard Graf, YWAM Native Ministries
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