[CF Devotionals] 2014-05-23 - Forgiveness after Failure

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Have any of you ever messed something up real badly? Have you ever screwed up, big time? Often with the really big things, we think there can be no recovery. Let me tell you about two men who made really big mistakes in football.

First, there is Roy Riegels: In the 1929 Rose Bowl game, he played for the University of California, playing against Georgia Tech. Early in the second quarter, he recovered a fumble and took off for the end zone, more than 60 yards away. According to a 1955 article in Sports Illustrated, when a teammate grabbed him at the 10-yard line, Riegels shouted, "Get away from me … This is my touchdown." At the three-yard line, he was grabbed again and realized he was going the wrong way and turned around, but it was too late, as a wave of Georgia Tech players tackled him on his own one-yard line. This led to a safety, which wound up being the margin of victory for Georgia Tech.

Then there is Jim Marshall: On October 25, 1964, Jim Marshall, a defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings, picked up a fumble by San Francisco's Billy Kilmer. He also ran it more than 65 yards, untouched, into the end zone. Unfortunately, Marshall's run resulted in a safety for the 49ers. Marshall is quoted, on the Pro Football Hall of Fame website, as saying, "My first inkling that something was wrong was when a 49er player gave me a hug in the end zone." The Vikings won the game 27 to 22, after Marshall caused a fumble by the 49ers quarterback, which Carl Eller returned and ran the right way for a Vikings touchdown. Marshall and his team recovered from the mistake.

Riegels and the University of California could not recover from the mistake. Marshall and the Vikings did. As a little extra trivia, there are three other people who have made similar mistakes. Harry Buffington on the first play of the All-America Football Conference season opener in 1947 between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Baltimore Colts. Andy Farka on October 16, 1938 made the same mistake, in an error between the Washington Redskins and Detroit. Most recently, Andre Parker, in Kent State's first game of 2012 against Towson Tigers, ran the wrong way. You can find this one on the internet at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDwraPv9f5Q.

But enough about football, let's look at two prominent disciples with big wrong-way runs of their own: Judas and Peter.

Luke 22:3-6, 47-48 (NASB)

And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. 4 And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. 5 They were glad and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented, and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd.

47 While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. 48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

Judas betrayed Jesus. But he wasn't the only one.

Luke 22:54-62 (NASB)

Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance. 55 After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. 56 And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.” 58 A little later, another saw him and said, “You are one of them too!” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” 59 After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, “Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

Peter betrayed Jesus too. After Peter’s betrayal, there was sorrow - he wept bitterly. He was upset - but wait - he wasn't the only one.

Matthew 27:3-5 (NASB)

Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” 5 And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.

Judas felt remorse too. He turned to the priests and elders and they could not help. He hung himself.

John 21:7, 15-17 (NASB)

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.

15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.

Peter ran to Jesus and followed him. Judas and Peter responded with remorse, but remorse is just part of the equation. Peter added running – he saw Jesus, he got up, and he ran to Jesus. Well, he swam actually, but you get the idea. The equation for repentance is pretty simple:

Remorse + Run to Jesus = Repentance

And without Repentance, we cannot recover. Let me show you one more equation:

Repentance = Recovery + Restoration

Because the second equation is very simple - Repentance is recovery and restoration - we can be forgiven of our failures. That’s what Jesus did on Good Friday. He removed our debts and restored us to a fully-recovered relationship with God. Will you show remorse for your sins and run to Jesus today? If you do you, will find recovery and restoration is waiting in the arms of a loving savior.


[email adam] acdum@hotmail.com

All scripture references are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

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