A.P. (Tony) McCoy, a famous horse jockey, had his first win at the age of 17. By 2009 he had over 3,000 wins to his name. In 2009, he was on his fourteenth attempt to win the “Grand National”. The Grand National is an annual race that takes place near Liverpool, England. It is one of the oldest horse races. It has been taking place since 1836. It is the race that was featured in the old movie classic with Elizabeth Taylor, “National Velvet”. So it is quite prestigious to win that particular race. On Tony’s fourteenth attempt he took a fall. Needless to say he didn’t win. You would think after 14 attempts and a big embarrassing fall Tony wouldn’t have gone back. Not the case. He truly exemplified the old cliché, “Get back on the horse that threw you.” Of course, I don’t think he got back up on the same horse for the 2010 Grand Nationals. He rode, “Don’t Push It” and won the Grand Nationals on his fifteenth attempt. How wonderful he must have felt to accomplish that goal. If he had decided that fall on the fourteenth was it, he would have never experienced that joy of winning in the fifteenth.
Many times we make that same mistake in our walk with the Lord. We fall of the horse. We sin again. Sometimes it is the same sin we have committed a million times. We figure, “How can God love us?” “How can God forgive us again?” We think we are no good. We can’t forgive ourselves. We are just a failure at this relationship with God. We think that He couldn’t possibly use someone like us. We think we are worthless. The point is…we are worthless. It really does take God to forgive us. It isn’t up to us. He can use us. After all, He is almighty God. He can do what He wants. It glorifies Him, when He uses us. It shows His power, grace, and love all the more through us. The Apostle Peter experienced the same things we do. He denied Christ three times. He felt horrible. He was still called to be an Apostle, but he didn’t think he could do it anymore. He had failed Jesus in His hour of need. Look at what Peter does in John 21: 2-3.
2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called “Twin”), Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 “I’m going fishing,” Simon Peter said to them.
Peter had been called from fishing for fish by Jesus to fishing for men. He felt so bad, that he figured it was over and went back to his old way of life. He was trying to give up the Lord’s call to be an Apostle and Fisherman of Men. Jesus loved him so much (after all He died for him and us) that Jesus went and met Peter where he was at and counseled him. Jesus showed him He loved him and made sure Peter knew that He was forgiven and that he was still to be on assignment for Him. He was not to go back to fishing for fish. He was to feed God’s sheep. Read John 21: 17-19.
17 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.” “Feed My sheep,” Jesus said. 18 “I assure you: When you were young, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where you don’t want to go 19 He said this to signify by what kind of death he would glorify God. After saying this, He told him, “Follow Me!”
We see a lot of God’s wisdom and love in John 21. Just before Jesus re-assured Peter, He demonstrated to Peter and the other disciples His power and control one more time. He had them catch one more big batch of fish. It was like saying, “If I can make you catch a lot of fish, I can make you catch a lot of men.” It was also telling all of them that He could still use them even after they had all abandoned Him that night He was taken. The main piece of wisdom we can learn from this passage is that no matter what our sin is, as long as we repent, God can use us to do mighty works for Him. It’s not a matter of us feeling worthy or capable in ourselves. It is Christ working through us that makes the difference. If Jesus was willing to die for us because of His love for us, then why wouldn’t He forgive us when we sin and have us get right back up on that horse again so He can get back to glorifying His name through us? Think what the Christian world would have missed out on if Peter didn’t get back up on his horse. Think what Peter would have missed out on. What will the world miss out on if you don’t get back up that horse? What will you miss out on?