Human Failure

Joy Zomer

READ : John 18:15-26; 21:15-19

[Peter] said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” (21:17)

Each time I read Peter’s denial of knowing Jesus in John 18, I flinch. Failure. Weakness. Guilt. These emotions are etched in each word of these verses. Peter, who loved and followed Jesus loyally during his time on earth, denies him when pushed by fear, doubt, and anxiety. Minutes before he was confident enough in his beliefs to use his sword as a weapon to defend his Lord; too soon, his frailty is reflected in his denials.

Countless times we have each faced a world that asks where we stand. Who do we worship? Will we say we know him? Although the question may not be put as directly as it was to Peter, we are tested. We are given the chance to speak up for what’s right, what’s good, and what holds meaning in our life. Each time, we choose. And, like Peter, sometimes we fail. We buckle under the pressure.

Nevertheless, the story doesn’t end in our failure. We are given the opportunity to try again, to remember what and who we believe in. We aren’t rejected. No, our God knows that we love him, and he will continue to lead us to the cup, urging us to drink. Peter isn’t left to his failure.

Where have you denied the living Savior in your own life? How can you begin once more?


Jesus, you know our hearts. Forgive our failures and trust us to try . . . again.