Thursday, 26 March 2020
Peter ... Peter ...
He was a fisherman chosen by Christ as a disciple. He immediately left his nets by the sea shore and followed Jesus. (Matthew 4:18).
For three years, he and the other disciples, lived with Jesus. They saw Him as a human being, just like them, although He was also God. They heard Him teach, and saw His many miracles: turning water to wine, calming the sea, walking on water and healing the sick and raising the dead.
Peter and the others witnessed all this. Peter in particular was the chosen one by Christ. In many occasions he was one of the few to witness certain events, and to be there when the other disciples were not. What a privilege that is. Being one of the few to be there at certain important times in Christ's life.
But what do we know about Peter's character? And what do we learn from it?
He was the first disciple to be called by Jesus. (Luke 5:1-9).
He can be a little impetuous and acting on impulse. When Jesus walked on water towards the boat Peter asked if he too could walk towards Christ. Jesus said: Yes, and Peter soon jumped into the lake, walked a few steps, then lost Faith and almost drowned. (Matthew 14:22).
He can talk without thinking. When Jesus taught His disciples that He was to die and then rise from the dead, Peter rebuked Christ, his own Master, and told Him this should not happen. (Matthew 16:21).
Days later, when Peter, James and John were up a high mountain with Jesus; and they saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus, again, Peter comes forward mouth first and suggests he builds three tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. What was he thinking? Having a picnic up there? (Matthew 17:1).
At the last supper it was Peter who refused to have his feet washed. He thought he knew better. (John 13: 1-10).
He was the one who bravely declared that he will never leave Jesus and would die for Him. (Luke 22: 31-34).
When Jesus was arrested, Peter really lost his head. He drew out his sword and attacked the high priest’s servant. (John 18:10).
Yet, not so longer later he denied knowing Jesus three times. (Luke 22:54).
I am sure you can think of other examples to describe Peter's character and behaviour.
So there you have it. A hothead, a loud mouth, who denies His Master even though he said he never would.
Yet, he then went on to lead Christ’s early church to greater things.
Let us now consider Peter after Christ's death and resurrection, and see how Jesus not only forgave him but also prepared him to greater things.
After the resurrection Jesus appeared to His followers several times. On one occasion He appeared by Lake Tiberias to seven disciples, including Peter. After they had eaten Jesus took Peter aside and three times He asked him if he loved Him. Thus indicating that Peter would indeed follow Jesus to bring Glory to God. (John 21: 1-19).
Later on, in Acts Of The Apostles, we see a different Peter. He can now perform miracles. He makes a lame man walk. (Acts 3: 1-9).
Note that Peter says " ... In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!"
He recognises that this new power he has to perform miracles has nothing to do with him personally. But it is through the power of Jesus Christ that he performs such miracles.
Later we learn that not only Peter but all the apostles performed miracles. Sick people sat in the streets awaiting Peter's shadow to fall on them and heal them. (Acts 5: 12-16).
Can you imagine that? Peter's shadow falling on the sick and miraculously healing them.
Imagine for a moment it was you. Imagine that as you walk the streets your shadow falls on a poor beggar sitting there with many ailments and he is healed. How would you feel?
Would you think you're superhuman? Or would you be humbled that God saw you fit to carry on with His work on earth?
How did Peter feel do you think? He knew he was no superman. He knew that despite witnessing all of Christ's powers and miracles he still failed and denied Him three times.
But he knew something else. Despite being such a sinner, Jesus forgave him and gave him the courage and power to rise up and work for God's glory.
And that's how we should feel. We may not have the power to heal the sick, or any other powers we read about in the Bible. But we have the power, and should have the courage, to witness in His name.
Especially now when the secular world does not want to hear.
God is forgiveness. No matter what we have done, no matter what our sin is, if we truly repent and promise not to repeat our sin, God will forgive us and help us to greater things.