There are going to be times when we fail Jesus Christ. When it happens, what can we do to make it right?
Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?”
And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.”
“But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.”
Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me. (John 13:36-38)
Failing Jesus Christ Can Happen to Anyone
Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ does not make us immune to failure. When we follow the disciplines of being a disciple, we are more equipped to holy living. We are better empowered to resist temptation and live in a way Christ desires for us.
However, we are still encased in a fleshly body that originated in this world. Therefore, we will always have the potential to sin.
Whether we find ourselves in a weak moment and succumb to temptation, display a heart attitude that is displeasing to God, fall into an unloving pattern from our former life without realizing it, or any number of other stumbling blocks, it can happen.
The good news is, when we fail Jesus Christ, His love for us is also available to cover our failings. When Jesus went to the cross He paid for all of our sins – past and future.
When we read the Bible, one thing becomes abundantly clear. Failing Jesus Christ happens to us all. Even the heroes of our faith are capable of failing God.
The Apostle Peter Failed Jesus Christ
Today we are looking at a time when one of Jesus’ very own disciples – one of those closest to Him – failed.
Peter, on the night Jesus was betrayed, 3 times denied publicly to be a disciple of Jesus.
To put this failure into context, we know from Jesus’ own teachings that if we deny Him here on earth, He will deny us in Heaven (Matthew 10:33). Perhaps Peter recalled Jesus saying this afterwards. We know Peter “wept bitterly” after he heard the rooster (Luke 22:60-62).
We also know from this passage that Jesus and Peter met eyes as soon as Peter heard the rooster crow. I understand the feeling of pain and dread from times I have failed Jesus Christ, but I have not had to bear Jesus literally looking into my eyes when it happens. The anguish Peter felt in that moment must have been soul-crushing.
Jesus had even warned Peter it was going to happen, and Peter couldn’t stop Himself. Have you ever entered into a situation where there was a chance you were going to sin, told yourself it wouldn’t happen, and then wound up succumbing to temptation anyway?
So what do we do when we fail Jesus Christ?
We repent and ask forgiveness.
When We Repent, We are Restored
The Bible lets us know God’s forgiveness is available to us when we fall short.
God is just, and at the same time He is merciful. Because both are true, we must acknowledge our failure to Him and ask His forgiveness.
It is not enough to be mad at ourselves and vow to never do it again. Unless we are vulnerable before God and call it out as sin that we need to turn from, it will continue to be a hindrance in our fellowship with Christ. The longer we wait to confess, the larger of a stumbling block it will become in our lives.
God promises to forgive us – if we confess (1 John 1:9). This is one of the reasons it is important to pray to Him often. It allows us opportunity to review and cleanse our hearts before Christ.
The wonderful news is that, if we repent, God will restore our fellowship. The Bible publicly acknowledges Peter’s failure, and it also publicly describes Jesus restoring fellowship with him (John 21:15-17).
We quoted Jesus earlier that if we deny Him, Jesus will deny us before His Father. He said that, we cannot run from it. However, the Bible tells us that even in the face of a declaration of judgement from God, if we are willing to repent and turn from our sins, we will be restored (Ezekiel 33:12-16).
This is so important, it bears repeating; even when God says we will die for our sins, if we repent before God and turn from our sins, we will live. God makes His forgiveness available to anyone who will repent and turn away from sin.
So even if you have been away for years, there is hope. If you have failed Jesus Christ, repent and ask forgiveness today, so that you can renew your walk with Christ.
Here are some additional verses about how to handle failing Jesus Christ: