While at work, I was talking to the man across from me, Leo, about God. He, at one point, started chuckling and said “That Peter, isn’t he something?” He gave me a couple examples of his going overboard.
The first example was when the disciples were out in the boat and Jesus came walking out on the water during the night to join them. They all thought he was a ghost. Jesus calls out “Take Courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14 vs. 22-33)
All the disciples in the boat were content with that and stayed put. Not Peter. “Lord, if it is you,” he replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come” Jesus answers. So, Peter gets out of the boat and starts walking on water! Awesome! But, when he took his eyes off Jesus (remember that) and started looking elsewhere at the winds, etc., he began to doubt. He then started sinking. “Lord, save me!” he cried out. (That’s a good lesson there – don’t take your eyes off Jesus. You’ll sink.)
“Why did you doubt?” Jesus asked. Good question. We all doubt sometimes, but why?
Another example Leo gave me was of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Jesus did this to show his servitude as an example for the disciples. They were to serve one another. When Jesus got to Peter, Peter said, “No, you shall never wash my feet.” His heart was in the right place. He knew Jesus was the Christ and Jesus was above him. Peter should be washing Jesus feet.
Jesus explains that unless I wash you, you have no part with me. Peter, again, goes overboard. “Then Lord,” he said “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” (John 13 vs. 3-9)
Hilarious. Peter has to always take things one step farther.
I only had time to discuss with Leo a couple examples, but I decided to read about Peter on my own to see what else I could learn about this man.
I found that Peter seemed to be the one to speak up most often. In Matthew 15 vs. 15, Peter was the one who had the courage to speak up and ask Jesus to explain the parable to them. Peter was also the first to proclaim “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16 vs. 13-16) During the transfiguration Peter offers to put up three shelters. Verse six explains that he didn’t know what to say because he was so frightened. The others kept quiet, but even though he didn’t know what to say, Peter just had to speak up. (Mark 9 vs. 2-6) Peter also asks how many times he must forgive. (Matthew 18 vs.21)
Luke 5 vs. 1-11 is the time that Jesus has them go out and put down their nets even though they hadn’t caught anything all day. Even though he doesn’t see the sense in this, Peter obeys and does it. There was so much fish that two boats were filled and began to sink. Everyone there was astonished, but Peter cried out “Go away from me Lord; I am a sinful man!”
In Luke there is a story of a woman who has a health issue with bleeding. She believes if she touches Jesus garment she will be healed. Jesus felt the power go from him. “Who touched me?” he asked.
Peter almost sounds like he’s chastising Jesus for asking a silly question. “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
Jesus ignored Peter’s comment because his main purpose was to find the woman and speak to her. “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” (Luke 8 vs.43-48)
Jesus tells the parable about watchfulness. For some reason, Peter isn’t sure who this parable pertains to. “Lord,” he asks, “Are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” It seems evident to me that everyone should be watchful, but Peter isn’t afraid to ask questions. (Luke 12 vs. 41) I guess that’s a good thing. Sometimes I’m afraid of looking foolish so I don’t ask. (I’m getting over that some). We should ask questions. This is a good time to be like Peter.
This next one is one of my favorite quotes of Peters’. In John 6 vs. 66-69, it is mentioned that many disciples turned away from Jesus and he asked the twelve “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” That is a profound question. I can’t think of a better way to put it. “Lord, to whom shall we go?”
Matthew, Chapter 16, has to be a whirlwind for Peter. When Jesus asked who they thought he was, Peter said “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
This is how Jesus replied to that, “Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Wow. Such high praise from Jesus in front of everyone. Peter had to be feeling pretty good about himself, but in the very same chapter he gets slammed. Jesus starts to talk about his upcoming death and Peter actually takes Jesus aside and rebukes Jesus. That’s right. He was trying to set Jesus straight and tell him how things should be. (Yikes! Can you imagine rebuking God?) Jesus doesn’t hold any punches. He sets Peter straight. “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16 vs. 15-23)
Yikes! Peter gets referred to as Satan. What Jesus is saying is that what Peter was saying would hinder and stop God’s plan of salvation. If Jesus didn’t go to the cross and die for our sins, that would be an answer to Satan’s wishes. No, Jesus wasn’t saying that Peter was Satan. He was saying that what Peter was saying was right in line with what Satan wanted.
(Luke 22 vs. 31-34) This is Jesus talking here. “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.” (I’m not sure what being sifted as wheat means, but it doesn’t sound good). “But I have prayed for you, Simon.” (Isn’t it good to know that Jesus actually prays for us!) “That your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” This is where Peter declares that he is ready to go with Jesus to prison and to death. “I tell you,” Jesus answers “you will deny three times that you know me.”
Did Peter mean the things he said? Of course he did. (John 18 vs. 10) When they come to arrest Jesus, Peter drew a sword and cut the right ear off of the high priest’s servant. He brought a sword and he wasn’t afraid to use it. Jesus rebukes Peter and heals the servant’s ear.
They arrest Jesus and Peter follows at a distance. (Matthew 26 vs. 69-75) Peter gets asked three times if he is a follower of Jesus and Peter denies it three times. Immediately a rooster crows. Peter realizes what he has done. Scripture says he went outside and wept bitterly.
Bitterly. I can’t recall at this time any other occasion where the bible says someone wept bitterly. This wasn’t a pity cry or life stinks cry. Peter was shook to the core. He took pride in being someone of principle who stands up for what he believes in and then he goes and denies Christ – THREE times – and he was warned that day that he would do it! The guilt. The shame. And not only that, God’s son, the man that he swore he would die for, was going to die an excruciating death on the cross and he did nothing to help. Peter was at his lowest at this moment. We don’t hear anything about him again in the bible until after Jesus rises from the grave.
God knows where we’re at emotionally. Jesus knew how Peter was feeling. (Mark 16 vs 4-7) The women go to the grave and see a man dressed in a white robe. I’m guessing this is an angel and he tells the women that Jesus is risen. He is not here. He then tells them “But go, tell his disciples and Peter…”
Peter IS a disciple. The man didn’t have to add Peter’s name, but he does. That’s because God wants to make sure if they forget, in their excitement, to tell one of the disciples – it won’t be Peter. He knows that Peter, more than anyone, needed to hear encouraging words right then.
(Luke 24 vs. 9-12) When the women came back and told everything they saw to the eleven, no one believed. But… Peter, however, got up and ran to the grave. He had to have hopes that they were telling the truth or he wouldn’t have gone. Peter, once again, was the one to take action.
Can you imagine the joy that Peter felt when he finally saw Jesus again and realized that he had been forgiven? Jesus wasn’t angry with him. He knew ahead of time that Peter would deny him, yet he had chosen Peter to be the rock. To be a disciple. One of the twelve. Aren’t we lucky to have such a forgiving and loving God?
(John 21 vs. 15-25) This is where Jesus asks Peter three times “Do you love me?” My belief is that he asked him three times because Peter had denied him three times. He knew Peter was still feeling awful about his denials, so Jesus is giving him a chance to “make it up.” The three “I love you” proclamations cancelled out the three denials. That was for Peter’s sake.
Wow. Peter was impulsive. He acted from the heart. He didn’t always think first. This didn’t always lead to good results, but I can imagine Jesus loved his heart and enthusiasm. Peter just dove into things and then hoped that the water was there as an after-thought. Peter didn’t always make good choices but his heart was in the right place. We need to have his enthusiasm and courage – yes courage, most of the time he was bold in his faith.
Now when I think of Peter, I just laugh, shake my head and ask “That Peter, isn’t he something?”
(I have no idea what kind of boats they had back then, so I just used some pictures that I had.)