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John Moore
September 26, 2022 | Inspirational | John Moore

The Week of the Cross – Failure and Forgiveness

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week. Now the cross is in full view and we see Jesus in preparation for his death and the final desertions and betrayals.

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  Luke 22:31-32.

1. Understanding Forgiveness in The Context of My Failures. We always learn our most important lessons after failures in life.  It is nice to ride the crest of successes. But life is a lesson in series of failures. And we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, meaning we have a fatal disease called sin which starts at birth and is only cured by the blood of Christ and the cross. For Peter, even before he denied Christ, Jesus both predicts his failure and provides the promise of recovery and forgiveness. Amazing, especially in the context of the shadow of the cross merely hours away!

2. Our Human Condition Includes Vulnerability to Spiritual Warfare. There is no other way to say it.  Satan, as our adversary, is always looking for openings. Remember Satan roaming around the earth during the lifetime of Job, looking to do damage to God’s people. Job 1:6-7. Two realities here. First, Satan has designs on you and me to destroy us, but God is our protector.  And secondly, the amazing promise in Job that even Satan acknowledges that ‘have you not put a hedge around him and his household?  Job 1:9. We are not left without defenses.

3. The Promise of Recovery from Failure. This is probably one of the most touching promises of Jesus, especially in the context of even his own human struggle with the realities of the cross. This does not say ‘if’ you recover. It says ‘when’ you recover. Peter will recover from this failure, and there will be work for him to do that counts for eternity. "Go and strengthen your brothers."  Amazing! 

Even in the sunset of Peter’s life, as he again is reminded of his past failures, Jesus promises both that the end of his life will not be easy, but that he will have the opportunity to reach out to others for ministry and encouragement.

5 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” John 21:15-19.

Do you find yourself thinking that you are useless, that your failures keep you from God, that there is nothing left for you to do that counts for eternity, because of the way your life has gone? Based on this, you are being distracted by things not true. As you are drawing breath, God is not finished with you yet.  And His grace and love covers a multitude of sins, and sets our feet back on the rock to do work that pleases Him. Don’t give us. You are needed and valuable to God, even like the lessons learned by Peter.  Stay well.


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