2014-05-23 - Forgiveness after Failure
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)
Judas betrayed Jesus. But he wasn't the only one.
Luke 22:54-62 (NASB)
Peter betrayed Jesus too. After Peters betrayal, there was sorrow - he wept bitterly. He was upset - but wait - he wasn't the only one.
Matthew 27:3-5 (NASB)
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)
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. Thats 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.
All scripture references are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.