This week leads up to the most important event of Christianity. For us, we celebrate Easter morning to remember a particular morning many years ago. The morning Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead.
I plan to write more about that and other events that took place during that holy week as the week goes on, but what I’d like to concentrate on this morning is a person. Peter.
Jesus chose Peter on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. Peter was fishing with his brother Andrew when Jesus approached them and said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) These words changed Peter’s life forever.
We all know Peter as the outspoken disciple. The one who always asked the questions no one else was willing to pose.
Peter was one of the closest followers of Jesus and was nearby for several events. One was the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13). He wanted build shelters for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. But Jesus asked that nothing be discussed until after His resurrection.
Peter was also with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46). Jesus took Peter and two sons of Zebadee away from the other disciples. He asked them to “keep watch.” Being tired, the trio were unable to keep their eyes open. Jesus was disappointed three times.
Of course, these aren’t the only times Peter is mentioned in the New Testament. Here are a few others you might remember:
- Peter asked the question about forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35)
- Peter gave his confession of Jesus (Matthew 16:13-20)
- Peter walked on the water (Matthew 14:22-36)
- Washing of Peter’s feet (John 13:1-17)
- Jesus predicted Peter’s denial (Matthew 26:31-35)
- Peter denied knowing Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75)
- Peter ran to the empty tomb (Luke 24:12)
- Jesus brings Peter back into the fold (John 21:15-19)
But something changed in Peter after the resurrection of Jesus. And even more so after the Day of Pentecost. If we jump ahead to the Book of Acts, we see a man who was completely changed.
Peter’s address to the crowd on this day was miraculous. He presented the Gospel in a clear, straight-forward manner. His message was convincing and convicting. Many believed what he had to say on that day and for many years to come.
So what made the difference? The Holy Spirit. Each disciple was “filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:4)
And this was just the beginning. A quick read through the Book of Acts will show just how much Peter did at the start of the New Testament church. If you haven’t read through it recently, I would encourage you to spend some time in this book over the next few weeks.
This isn’t the end of Peter. There are two letters written by him in the New Testament. 1 and 2 Peter contain some great words of encouragement to “God’s elect” who were scattered about. They are words of hope for those being persecuted and words of warning against false teachers.
But I believe his overall message is of grace. Peter’s life showed that through the grace of God, he was who he was and was able to do what he did.
Can’t that be said of all of us? We are people just like Peter, who without grace and the Holy Spirit would be useless to God’s Kingdom.
These are some of my thoughts on Peter. Peter the man who couldn’t keep his mouth shut. Peter the man who had such great faith in Jesus. Peter the man who became an instrument to be used for God. Peter the man who understood grace. I pray that each of us would have the same understanding of God working in and through us.
I end each blog with the words, “Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” They are Peter’s words. Taken from his letters. 1 Peter 1:2b and 2 Peter 1:2a. They have come to be meaningful and powerful to me. Maybe you’ll come to love them as much as I have.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,