Stunning Failure, Stunning Grace

Discussion Questions:

Compare Peter’s confession of Jesus in Matthew 16 and his three denials of Jesus in Matthew 26. What does this teach you about “flesh and blood”? Notice also how each one of Peter's denials becomes more and more vehement. Why might you react (or have you ever reacted) like Peter does here?

Peter’s denials did not just appear out of thin air. Peter cultivated this moment of failure through spiritual lethargy. Describe Peter’s spiritual descent in the upper room and in Gethsemene. Are there any analogs in your own life? How can you avoid becoming spiritually complacent, remembering “The day that a saint falls is the day that he ceases to fear to fall”?

Saint Augustine said that Peter was in a healthier condition when he was weeping bitterly after his fall than when he was swearing his undying loyalty to Jesus in the Upper Room. What does repentance accomplish that pride and boasting don’t accomplish? How can you cultivate this kind of daily awareness in your own life?

Did Peter continue to live like a denier? How did Peter learn how to stand fast? Discuss how we can hold together these two truths: that God’s grace is always meeting our sin and that we are people who are growing in humility, prayer, and steadfastness.