Read His Words Before Ours!
For as long as I can remember, my husband has contended the fictional comic book character Batman is the only plausible superhero. When asked why, he will happily explain: unlike other illustrated literary superheroes, Batman doesn’t have any special powers or alien origins.
Immeasurable wealth and influence? Sure.
Mad ninja skills and physical prowess? Check.
Insanely cool superhero lair and technological marvels to help him fight crime? Yup.
But aside from the seemingly endless supply of money and inner torment,
Batman is basically just a regular guy with excellent resources.
This might seem an unusual way to introduce a journey with Peter, but stay with me.
When we study the radical accounts of miracles God performed through Peter, it’s easy to see him as a spiritual giant.
He boldly exhorted those in Jerusalem following the Holy Spirit’s outpouring on Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36).
He miraculously healed (Acts 3:6-8),
raised the dead to life (Acts 9:38-43),
was the first to witness the unveiling of God’s complete plan of salvation for all people (Acts 10:9-33),
was imprisoned for his faith and proclaiming the gospel (Acts 4:1-4),
was freed from jail. by angels (Acts 12:6-19),
and people were healed simply by his very shadow (Acts 5:12-16).
With a resume like that, anyone would assume Peter was basically a Biblical beast. In a way, he was, but if we only examine the miracles and remarkable eternal impact of Peter’s life, without acknowledging Peter’s colorful humanity and frailty, we miss the best things about Peter’s story.
Just like the overarching account of Scripture and every vignette therein, Peter’s story points to God, His plan for salvation through Jesus Christ, and the redemption He alone brings.
Peter was a man of humble beginnings. His work was essential to the economy, but could hardly be considered illustrious. Brash and outspoken, Peter was impulsive, rough around the edges, and often ruled by his emotions.
When the disciples saw Jesus walking on water, they were frightened. (Matthew 14:22-33) Jesus comforted them; when He was tested by an impulsive Peter, Jesus invited him to step onto the waves. Peter initially fared well, but became afraid and began sinking.
When Jesus told His disciples He would be killed, and raised to life on the third day, Peter “caught feelings” and again tested Jesus, rejecting what He said outright. (Matthew 16:21-22)
Again, Peter failed.
When Judas betrayed Jesus, Peter was overcome by his emotions, drew his sword, and cut off a man’s ear. (John 18:1-11)
Jesus also prophesied Peter would deny Him three times. Vehemently, Peter objected and declared he would never. When Jesus’ words came to pass and he heard the rooster crow, Peter was broken. (John 18:16-27)
It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it?
Separated from the Messiah, Peter carried the weight of his personal betrayal of the Master he loved while Jesus was persecuted, crucified, and buried. Even after He was resurrected to life three days later, Peter’s actions undoubtedly haunted him.
Time and again, Peter messed up,
and hurt others,
and didn’t believe Jesus,
and argued with the very Son of God,
Over, and over, and over.
Oh Peter. I can relate. On every. single. count.
“When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’
‘Yes, Lord,’ [Peter] said to him, ‘you know that I love you.’
‘Feed my lambs,’ [Jesus] told him.”
Three times, Peter had denied Jesus.
Three times, resurrected Jesus asks this question and commissions Peter, restoring him to full relationship and ministry.
Herein lies the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the trajectory of salvation!
Peter wasn’t enough. Yet, Jesus called him.
Peter failed, many times. Yet, Jesus disciplined him in love.
Peter denied Jesus. Yet, Jesus died for him.
After all that, Jesus offered him redemption, commissioned him, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, transformed Peter to be a living demonstration of the work of the Gospel.
The most important part of Peter’s story is that
In fact, Peter was basically just a regular guy, with excellent (read: supernatural) resources.
When we look at the accounts we see in Scripture and compare ourselves to the people we read there, we miss the point completely. Throughout all of Scripture, no one was ever enough, except Jesus Christ.
When faced with that reality, Peter put his faith in Jesus. He allowed himself to be transformed completely. Because of that surrender, the Holy Spirit was freed to work through him.
Beloved, the truth is, we aren’t enough, either.
If we were, then we would actually BE God.
We wouldn’t need salvation, because we wouldn’t sin.
We wouldn’t need sanctification, because we would already be completely holy.
Just as He saw Peter, Jesus sees us as we really are, in all our frailty and failure and not enough. Because He IS enough, He transforms us into a new creation! Praise be to God!
Jesus, thank You for being enough, for filling every gap and showing Your strength in my weakness. Teach me to walk in Your ways and help me to remember that You are the real Champion in all of Scripture, and in my life.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!