Why Peter Failed (Part 4)
We have noted three reasons so far that contributed to Peter's denials of Christ. Peter failed because he was boastful, because he was not diligent enough in prayer, and because he followed Jesus from a distance.

Luke 22:54,55 reads - "Having arrested Him [i.e., Jesus], they led Him and brought him into the high priest's house. But Peter followed at a distance. Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them." Why did Peter sit down with those who weren't disciples of Christ? Probably because he didn't want to be identified as a follower of Jesus on that occasion. He wanted to be close enough to see what would happen to Christ, but he didn't want anyone to know that he was a disciple himself. So, he chose his companions carelessly by sitting down with this group. This was one way in which he tried to hide his identity. Another way in which he attempted to hide his identity was by cursing and swearing (Mark 14:71).

What about the companions you choose to associate with? On that terrible evening in which Jesus was betrayed and denied, Peter sat down with the wrong group of people; he chose the wrong companions. The Bible warns us not to make the same mistake. I Corinthians 15:33 teaches - "Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits.'" It is still true that evil companions corrupt good morals, but many only learn this lesson the hard way. Many today fall into sin because they fail to choose good companions that would encourage them to what is right and avoid evil. They associate and become friends with those of the world, and, as a result, they become like the world! They fail to realize that "a little leaven leavens the whole lump" (I Cor. 5:6). If we choose sinful companions, it won't be long before their unrighteous ways are growing on us! Let us take David's words of wisdom to heart - "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night" (Psa. 1:1,2).

Although Peter was successful on Pentecost in Acts 2, he was a failure on the evening before Jesus' crucifixion. Peter failed miserably and we've seen some of the reasons why. Some would say that there is really no difference between Peter and Judas. They both failed terribly on that night. One betrayed Christ and the other denied Him repeatedly. But, actually, there is a great deal of difference between the failures of these two men. Peter's sins were unintentional; that is, he sinned through fear and weakness of faith. Judas, on the other hand, sinned according to plan and purpose. Another significant difference is that Judas did not seek forgiveness through repentance. Yes, they were both sorrowful after committing their sins, but Judas gave up by going out and hanging himself (Matt. 27:5). Peter went out and wept bitterly, but he did not give up. He repented and gave the rest of his life in faithful service to the Lord that he had denied.

Friends, do not make the mistakes Peter made. Be a person of humility, pray without ceasing, follow Christ as closely as you can, and choose your companions wisely. Above all, when you do fail God miserably, don't make the mistake that Judas made in not seeking God's pardon. Even though Judas betrayed the Son of God Himself, he could have been forgiven! No matter how badly we sin or fail before God, He is always willing to accept us with open arms, if we meet Him on His terms (cf. II Pet. 3:9; Ezek. 18:21-23).