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In the moment of crisis, Peter failed at the very point where he pledged to be eternally faithful.

Should this surprise us? After all, why should Satan attack only at the point of your self-perceived weakness?

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If you know you have a problem with anger or with laziness or with lust or with gluttony, will you not be on your guard lest you fall? But it is not so with your strengths. You tend to take those areas for granted. I have other problems, but that area is not really a temptation at all. Put up the red flag! There is danger ahead. Never again would Peter brag on himself like he did that night.

Why God Allows Good Men to Fall

Never again would he presume to be better than his brothers. Never again would he be so cocky and self-confident. All that was gone forever, part of the price Peter paid for his failure in the moment of crisis. It is a good thing that the Lord allows this to happen to us.


By falling flat on our faces we are forced to admit that without the Lord we can do nothing but fail. The quicker we learn that and we never learn it completely , the better off we will be. Failure never seems to be a good thing when it happens, but if failure strips away our cocky self-confidence, then failure is ultimately a gift from God. Many years ago during a difficult moment, in a time of enormous stress, I said some things to some dear friends that I ought not to have said. Suffice it to say that under duress, I got angry and said hurtful things to people who did not deserve to be treated like that.

In the days that followed, I paid dearly for losing my cool. I found that the anger within subsided very slowly. My anger flared every time I thought of that confrontation. A month later while attending a conference in another state, I happened to meet a man who was to become a close personal friend. One night we stayed up late and I told, in exhaustive detail, the story of my personal explosion. As I told it, I got angry all over again. My friend listened to the whole sordid tale and then he spoke. Had he missed the point of my story? But he knew me better than I knew myself.

You appear on the outside to be laid-back. But the truth is far different. But that night, the lid came off. Then he went on to explain a fundamental truth about the Christian life. You covered yours for so long that you thought it had gone away. But it was there, like a snake coiled in the grass, waiting for the chance to strike. He concluded with these penetrating words. God let you say those terrible things to your friends so that you could never again pretend to be something that you are not.

I believe every word my friend said was absolutely true. God let me fail in the moment of crisis and in so doing, he showed me a part of myself I had never seen before. Never again would Peter stand up and boast about his courage. In the future he would talk about humility instead.

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  8. I notice two encouraging facts about the way Jesus treated Peter: He knew what Peter would do, he knew how he would react, and he knew the kind of man Peter would be afterward. Jesus has more faith in Peter than Peter has in Jesus. It had to happen that way or else Peter would never be fully effective for Christ. There is an important principle at work here. A bone that is broken often becomes stronger after it is healed.

    Something in the healing process actually makes the break point stronger than it was before. The same is true of a rope that breaks. In the hands of a master splicer, the rope once repaired becomes stronger than it was before. The same thing is true of our failures. God can touch our broken places and make us stronger than we were before. His guilt was turned into grace; his shame into sympathy; his failure into faithfulness.

    Here is the proof: Peter did much more for Jesus Christ after his fall than he did before. Before his fall, he was loud, boisterous and unreliable; afterward he became a flaming preacher of the gospel. Before, he was a big talker; afterward, he talked only of what Jesus Christ could do for others. He was the same man, but he was different. He was still Peter through and through, but he had been sifted by Satan, and in the sifting the chaff of his life had been blown away.

    His vanity His pride His self-confidence His rash impulsiveness His unreliability. Humility New confidence in God Tested courage New determination to serve Jesus Christ A willingness to use his experience to help others. There is much in this story to encourage us. It was not the real Peter who denied the Lord; it was the real Peter who followed him into the courtyard. He sees our pain, our tears, and our earnest desire to please him. He sees us in our faltering attempts to follow him.

    To whom does this story apply? First of all, to you who are being tempted, who feel the pull of circumstances conspiring to draw you away from the Lord, take heart! Do you feel weak and confused? Peter felt that way, too. Are you discouraged about your life? Peter felt discouraged, too.

    Do you feel backed into a corner? This story is for you. Second, this story is for those who have fallen. Perhaps you gave way under pressure this week. Perhaps you carry a load of guilt from some thoughtless words spoken in haste. Perhaps you denied the Lord by keeping quiet at work when you should have spoken up. Perhaps you have used vile language this week - even if only spoken under your breath.

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    Perhaps you have been where you ought not to have been. Perhaps you have found yourself in a relationship that you know is wrong. Peter not only felt like you, he also fell like you. Third, this story is for those who are coming back to God. Perhaps you know all about weeping bitter tears. Do you feel as if God is far away? Does it seem as if you are trudging across a vast desert all alone? So it was certainly not good that Mike was alone.

    A Personal Anecdote

    But this cannot be what the text means. Every other creature had a mate. They could all reproduce. Or is it some other need which Adam has within himself that cannot be met apart from a woman?

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    Is it an emotional need? I believe all of those are part of the answer for why it is not good for Adam to be alone. He was calling upon humanity to accurately image Him. So the fundamental reason why it was not good for Adam to be alone was not because of a need to fulfilled within Adam, but rather because of a deficiency in his ability to accurately image God. Adam needed Eve to accurately reflect God. Yes, we needed a first couple in order to have humanity be fruitful and multiply.

    This is helpful for us to think about with our marriages. Our spouse is not given to us to fundamentally be for us and our enjoyment. It is primarily so that we can live as one flesh and represent the glory of God to the nations. My wife was given to me to help me be more like Jesus and to better represent him. That perspective certainly changes they way I view the purpose of our marriage and the reason God has given me this gift.

    I feel a brief note here is needed to say that I am not intending to say here that one who is single cannot accurately image God.