John Maxwell Profiles in Leadership: Peter – Failing Forward

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John Maxwell This is the fourth lesson in bestselling author and speaker John Maxwell’s Leadership by the Bible series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, tell them to sign up to receive John’s free email devotional here.


By John C. Maxwell

Matthew 26:30–75

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If you’ve ever failed, you’re in good company. Look at Peter, the rugged apostle Jesus nicknamed the Rock. He collapsed in a pile of failure. During Jesus’ moment of greatest need, Peter denied him with a curse, saying, “I do not know the Man!” (Matt. 26:74).

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When pressured, Peter did what he said he would never do. “While he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter” (Luke 22:60–61). Can you imagine that eye contact? Peter ran out and fell apart. This brash, boastful, indestructible Peter was now a failure.

Why did Peter fail?

  • He placed himself spiritually above others.
  • He thought he knew himself better than Jesus did.
  • He felt he was stronger than he was.

But all hope was not lost, and in the end, Peter was able to fall forward. On Easter morning the angels asked the women who came to the tomb to tell Peter that Jesus had risen and would meet him in Galilee. Peter was going to have to face Jesus again. But in facing Jesus, Peter found hope and gained great influence by obeying him.

As a leader, you’ll fail forward when you face your failures, face Jesus, and find hope.

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The above is adapted from The Maxwell Leadership Bible / Third Edition by John C. Maxwell (@JohnCMaxwell). Copyright © 2002, 2007, 2018 by Maxwell Motivation, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.


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