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Failure is inevitable but victory is secure

The Tabernacle exists to reproduce faithful and fruitful followers of Jesus Christ.

Today is Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement.

It is the holiest day of the year on the Jewish calendar. The word kippur comes from covering, from the Hebrew word kaphar. Israel was instructed in the Old Testament to observe this Day of Covering once a year.

On the Day of Covering the High Priest would prepare himself spiritually to bring an offering and intercede for his own sins, the sins of his fellow priests, and the sins of the nation. The accepted offering would cover over their sins.

In addition to bringing the usual sacrifices, on this day he would also work with a young bull and two goats.

He would confess his own sins while his hands were on the head of the bull, symbolically transferring his sins to the young bull. Later he would do that again for the sins of his fellow priests and for the people.

In the Middle of the ceremony the high priest would turn to the two goats. He would use two lots, one with the words, For Yahweh. The other with the words For Azazel (Escape). The Hebrew word Azel means escape.

What the 2 LOTS said on the Day of Atonement:



The lots would be drawn. The goat that got the lot saying “For Azazel” was immediately identified by tying a RED strip of wool to one of its horns. It was then turned around to face the people whose sin would later be placed on its head.

It came to be called the scapegoat, since it escaped death and was instead driven into the wilderness, symbolically carrying their sins away.  

The other goat had the lot that said “For Yahweh” would go to the second goat. That goat would be placed on the large stone altar, the place where it would shortly be offered as a sin offering.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement (covering) for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement (covering) for the soul.”                 -Lev. 17:11

The priest would eventually take the blood of the bull and the “For Yahweh” goat into the Holy of Holies, and sprinkle it before the Ark of the Covenant and its Mercy Seat.

God had promised that when His people confessed their sins their sins would be covered by this act of sacrifice. The sins of that year were covered, but they would have to bring another sacrifice next year, and the next.

The Bible makes clear that Jesus did more than cover our sin problem, he once and for all took away our sins. In John 1:29 John the Baptist said about Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

In those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.                      -Hebrews 10:3-4

We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.             -Hebrews 4:10

Before He went to the cross, Jesus tried to explain what He was about to do on the cross. But they were still focusing on what they could do in their own strength for Jesus. Jesus knew that pride needed to be broken, and he started with Peter.

Read Luke 22:31-34           Failure is inevitable, but victory is secure            Let’s Pray!

When we get to Luke 22, Jesus is down to his last few hours to teach His disciples before He gets arrested, convicted, and executed on the cross. He has been preparing them for this, but they still don’t understand.

Two sets of prophecies: Suffering Servant/ Conquering King.

They were blowing off the suffering servant verses as they embraced their political hopes of Him now being the Conquering King.

Just before our verses for today, the disciples argued about which of them was the greatest, and most deserving of key positions in Jesus’ government.

I bet old Peter made a convincing argument for himself being the greatest!

Jesus always mentions me first! My name is Simon, but Jesus calls me the ROCK he’ll build His church on! I know I am in the top 3 with John and James, anyway. But they haven’t walked on water like me!

Jesus shut down their discussion by telling them the greatest among them would be the ones that served others.

To drive home the point, Jesus addressed Peter directly.              Look at verse 21

Disciples have a very real enemy that seeks our failure                           V. 31

John 10:10 says the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy – that’s Satan’s job description.

The word for you in verse 31 is in the plural – not just Simon but all believers, you all. Jesus told us all that in this world we will all have trouble!”

Here Jesus tells Simon that Satan has demanded to sift them. The sifting of wheat involves shaking it violently – that’s what Satan wants to do with each and every believer.

The good news is that what Satan means for bad, God uses for good – trials have a way of sifting our sin and selfishness out of us, leaving faith in God. 

Later a humbled Peter wrote…

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.                      -I Peter 5:8-9

Disciples have a very real enemy.

Failure is inevitable when we rely on ourselves for victory                     V. 33-34

Read verses 33-34

We will go past verse 32 for a moment because Peter himself barely heard it the first time. In his mind he was still wanting to argue with what Jesus said in v. 31.

Lord, you don’t have to worry about what Satan will do to me. I am strong. I’m not like these other guys. Even if all these guys desert you, I will fight to the death for you. I am made of stronger stuff than them. I can do it!

And in a couple of hours, Peter’s confidence in himself was in action.

When Jesus was arrested, Peter drew his sword and cut a man’s ear off (verse 50).

Undoubtedly Peter would have fought to the death for Jesus right then and there if Jesus didn’t stop him and submit to arrest.

Peter was showing the trust he had in himself and his ability to follow Jesus no matter what. But when things didn’t work out like Peter wanted to, within a few hours he failed and denied Christ before others.

Read Luke 22:54-62

Peter had vowed he would never fail Christ. But within a few hours he had.

Has anything like that ever happened to you?          Sure it has!

At church you were really touched by the Lord and went out the doors ready to charge Hell with a water pistol, within a few hours you fell hard.

Peter realized what he had done, and wept bitterly.

Despite his best intentions he had failed. And later in the New Testament we see other times Peter failed in the short-term. We all do. Failure is inevitable.

Peter’s failure was not the end of his story, and neither is yours!

Difference between Peter and Judas:

After failing Jesus, Judas never turned back to his fellow disciples and the Lord. But Peter did.

Before he saw Jesus again, Peter went and was among the disciples. I would love to hear how they interacted with him before they all saw the Risen Lord.

“It’s okay, Peter, we each failed Jesus in our own way.”

Somewhere in there, Peter must have remembered verse 32.

Despite a disciple’s failures, victory in Jesus is secure                              V. 32

Jesus said, “Peter, Satan wants to make you a failure, and you will fail – but that’s not the end of the story for one who has faith in Me!”

“Peter, I have prayed for you, and here’s what’s going to happen – Because you are Mine you will return to Me, and then I will use you to strengthen the faith of others!”

Those wonderful words are not just for Peter when he failed, they are for failures like you and me today!

Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.    -Hebrews 7:25

Have you ever visualized Jesus in Heaven praying for you? Think about that now!

When the High Priest interceded in prayer for Israel and offered the blood as a substitute, God forgave His people’s sins.

When Jesus Christ interceded for believers and offered up His own blood as a substitute for them, God forgave our sins! He bore the punishment due our sin so we could escape and live!  

Failure is inevitable, but victory is secure.

We all fail as believers, but Jesus never fails!

Your falls as a believer are allowed in part so that any faith you have in your own abilities to tackle sin will be destroyed and you will rely on faith in Jesus and the resources He gives to overcome.

Did you notice that in Luke 22:31 Jesus calls him Simon, his birth name?

That’s who Simon was in his natural man.

But in verse 34 Jesus called Him Peter again, that’s the man Peter would be in Christ, the supernatural man!

If you are in Christ, you are not who you were anymore, Jesus is transforming you into the man or woman He has for you to be. Revelation 2:17 says that Jesus has a new name for every believer!

I love to read the verses that show Jesus restoring Peter!

Turn to John 21:15-17

When you fail, turn quickly back to Jesus – He will restore.

3 takeaways for Peter’s fellow failures like you and me –

1.        Believe Jesus’ narrative for your life, not Satan’s!

BOTH the Devil and Jesus have a narrative for your life

The Devil says you are a failure and should give up

Jesus says you have failed but through faith in Me you are an overcomer

Which narrative will you believe?

I’m not concerned with what the Devil believes about you, I am concerned with what YOU believe about you

2.        Stop trusting in your own self sufficiency and trust Jesus instead

Many times over the years someone has come to me and said, “Danny, I just can’t forgive myself.”

My problem with that is I don’t see anywhere in Scripture you are called to forgive yourself.

Trying to forgive yourself is like trying to play tennis with yourself – you can’t be on both sides of the net at one time. It’s impossible!

Fortunately, the scriptures don’t talk about forgiving yourself but receiving forgiveness from the one you ultimately sinned against – God!

To further the Tennis analogy, God serves up forgiveness from His side of the net, and you receive forgiveness from your side of the net!

I believe what what’s behind the talk of forgiving myself is frustration with myself for not being a better person.   

What you are really saying, “I wish I was the kind of person that had not done such and such.”

The reality is that you and I are the kind of people that would and have done some version of such and such – just like the others you judge as failures! But Jesus loves us anyway – that’s grace – embrace it!

This life therefore is not righteousness but growth in righteousness; not health but healing; not being but becoming; not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it. The process is not finished, but it is going on. This is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.                  -Martin Luther

“Sir, but for the grace of God, there lies D.L. Moody.”

“I am the chief of sinners.”          -Paul

Peter WAS the kind of man that would deny. Jesus loved Him anyway. And Jesus forgave him when he repented!

3.        Be an overcomer and let God use you to help your fellow failures.

Before this Peter thought he was the kind of guy who couldn’t fail.

Now he knew the truth about himself – he was a sinner and aa failure at serving God in his own strength – A failure apart from God

But that realization can be the best thing to ever happen to a man or woman

Because when you finally get that you really are the person who could commit just about any sin against the Lord, and have in thought, word, or deed, then…

That’s when it means something to know that Jesus loves you anyway!

In spite of all of that!

And that’s when you will go from judging God’s other sheep to showing God’s love to them, caring for them, feeding them!

Peter said. “I’ve failed so I can’t minister to others.”

Jesus said, “You’ve failed so now I can really minister to others through you!”

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. But if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.              -I John 2:1-2

Let’s Pray