Day 36: Perfection & Failure
“Then he started to curse and swear, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” Immediately a rooster crowed a second time, and Peter remembered when Jesus had spoken the word to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.”
Nobody enjoys failure, but we’ll all remember times in our lives when we’ve been there. Failure is made all the worse when it’s held up against perfect success. One of the great things about the Bible is that God’s people are never seen with rose-tinted specs. As you read through the gospels you see the disciples fail time and time again. In today’s passage, we see one of the sorest failures.
We start, with Jesus under trial with the Sanhedrin. The high priest, chief priests, elders and scribes were all there, looking for someone to (falsely) witness against Jesus so they could kill him. They heard many testimonies, but no cohesion or agreement, so they couldn’t convict him. They had their verdict but didn’t have evidence to fit.
In the face of this hostility Jesus remained silent. That is, until his mic drop moment.
“Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
“I am,” said Jesus, “and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” (v61-62)
Brutal death is on the horizon, and Jesus reveals his true identity. They were trying to pronounce judgement on him, but the reality was that this was God’s rescue plan. Jesus revealed himself as the sovereign, rescuing King. He would be the one who would bring true judgement on all.
These religious leaders didn’t want that though. They wanted to rule, so they rejected Jesus. They wanted him dead, but they could find no shred of evidence that deemed him guilty. Instead, they rejected the truth he declared.
He was completely perfect, divine. They were raging that he would claim to be God, considered it blasphemous, and flew into a rage. They spat on him. They blindfolded him. They slapped him. They beat him.
Meanwhile, Peter was nearby, out in the courtyard. Three times he’s questioned, asked if he was with Jesus. Three times he denies. By the third time he’s losing it, cursing and swearing. Then the rooster crows, and Peter is faced with his complete failure. He had been full of bravado, he was convinced he would follow Jesus and never leave, yet here he was, hearing a rooster and waking up to his grim reality.
What a contrast. Jesus was completely perfect, sinless and innocent, yet facing death. Peter was fumbling, lying and raging, despite facing only a young servant girl.
Peter’s pride meant his eyes were on himself, not Jesus. His fear of man meant he was worried about what the others in the courtyard thought of him. He crumbled, like we often do too.
Compared to Jesus, we’re all utter failures. When we read the Bible and see Jesus, we should see that he’s everything we’re not. We might think of ourselves as capable, we might reckon we’re strong and can handle challenges, but we’re not. We can’t fight sin, find peace or grow in maturity on our own, we need Jesus.
But that’s the good news. Jesus was faithful and stood firm under trial, but he went to the cross to pay for all his people’s failures. He rose victorious, reigns eternally and will return in judgement. Our only hope is to confess our failure and trust in his perfection. He is enough. Confess your sin, your failure today and put your trust in him. Leave pride behind and rely on Jesus to hold you.
Passage for today: Mark 14:53-72
A thought to remember: Jesus was perfect and innocent, yet died in the place of failures.
A question to ask: How are you aware of failure in your life? How can you trust in Jesus, not yourself?
A song to sing: Before the throne of God above.