Failure and Regret, or Clothed with Power

Simon Peter could tell you all about regrets and failure. He betrayed his friend and teacher.

Peter had walked away from his fisherman’s life to follow this man. And he had vowed that he would never turn his back on Jesus. “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will. Even if I have to die with you, I’m with you,” says Peter.

But now Jesus has been arrested. The plots against him are beginning to play out, and things aren’t looking good. Most of the disciples slip away into the night. We can understand that; they fear for their own safety. But Peter follows the crowd, wanting to know what is happening, wanting to stay close to his friend.

Then he is accused of being “one of them.” Someone notices Peter and asks if he was a friend of Jesus. Peter lies. He denies even knowing Jesus; he backs down and deserts the one he had so recently recognized as the Son of God.

And not only once, but three times! Three times he repeats the lie, the betrayal. Three times he fails the one to whom he’d pledged his life.

Then the rooster crows. Jesus turns, and looks at Peter. Their eyes meet.

And Peter remembers. Jesus had told him this would happen. And he probably remembers, too, how vehemently he promised that he would never betray his friend. Can you imagine his shame, his distress, knowing how he had failed?

The account in Luke is particularly sad: And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.

So I think Peter could tell you all about failed intentions, regret, and shame.

But something happened to that man.

Once Jesus has left this earth, we hear Peter boldly saying to the Jews, in the synagogue, and to religious leaders, “You killed the Messiah! You killed the one who could give you life!” And even when religious leaders threatened to kill him if he didn’t stop preaching, he said, “Sorry, I obey God, not men.”

Something happened to that man.

Rewind to Jesus’ last days on earth. The disciples are finally convinced he has indeed come back to life. He’s been with them, eaten with them, talked with them. He is truly alive.

But now he’s talking about leaving again. What a roller coaster those disciples must have been on during those weeks. First, they watch as the one they hoped would set up a new kingdom is executed in a most horrible way. All their hopes die on Golgotha. Then, as they grieve and wonder, What do we do now?, the rumor starts that Jesus is not dead, but alive. Eventually, they see him with their own eyes. They finally believe. Then he talks of leaving them.

But just before he disappears again, Jesus has some curious last instructions for them. “Stay in the city,” he says, “until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Can you imagine? Can you put yourself among the circle of Jesus’ close disciples on that day? He says He’s leaving us, but tells us to wait … wait … and we will be filled with a new power. The NLT translation says, “But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

Imagine you were standing there that day, listening to Jesus telling you that power from heaven will settle in you, will clothe you … Wow!

Listen to what God tells you today. He says He has put His Spirit within you, His power clothes you. Wow!

Listen to what God tells you through Peter: By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.

Yes. Something happened to that man.

*

Scriptures: Luke 22:62 (NLT), Luke 24:49 (NIV, NLT), 2 Peter 1:3

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