As I was studying the book of 1 Peter and prepping to do a “first impressions” blog of it, I decided to really dive into the story of Peter himself. As I really began to grasp his life and who he was I felt like I’d rather write about him as a person before I start writing about what he wrote in the Bible.
The song that really spoke to me as I was praying over this blog today is I Will Follow You by Kristene Dimarco. If you’d like, you can listen to it while you read by CLICKING HERE!
Originally named Simon, Peter was a fishermen by trade. Most believers are familiar with the line, as Jesus tells Peter that if he’ll follow him, Jesus will make him a fisher of men. But my favorite thing about their meeting is in Luke 5:8. Jesus was in Peter’s boat and told him to throw out his fishing nets. Peter told him they’d fished those waters the previous night and caught nothing, but he threw out the nets anyways. They proceeded to catch so many fish that they needed help to haul them all in. Seeing this miraculous catch, Peter said this to Jesus.
Luke 5:8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
What a beautiful thing that is. He immediately knew that he was not worthy of being in the presence of the Lord. I think there’s great beauty in that reaction. Jesus was so holy and so great, Peter didn’t even feel worthy of being near him. That shows such great recognition and reverence for who and what Jesus is. But the greater thing is that Jesus us loves us just as we are, imperfections and all. He didn’t look at Peter and say “You’re right, you are sinful, I’m outta here.” He gets this guy up and says follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men. He took this imperfect man and found a place for him in His perfect plan.
And yes, Peter was imperfect. It’s what I love about him, and what makes him so relatable to an imperfect man like me. It’s also such a powerful example of how God has a use for all of us, flaws and all. He doesn’t have a plan for perfect you, he’s got a plan for you, now. It’s taken me decades to really get that. Decades of feeling unworthy of being used by God. But he doesn’t need me perfect, he just needs me. As soon as you submit to that, you find a divine transformation in your life. My days are filled with purpose now in a way I’ve never felt before. And while I’m obviously still far from perfect, the closer I draw to God the better I want to be. I know I’ll never be perfect, but I still aspire to be as close to it as I can. I think that’s the key. Come as you are to God, and through a transformation of your heart and your mind and through obedience to him and his ways, you’ll start seeing those improvements in your life that you’ve long toiled to achieve on your own. I’ve always tried to be a good person and always felt like I was a good person, but there were plenty of things in my life that I struggled with. Just over the past few months I’ve become less fearful of the future, less worrisome over money, more patient with my family, more loving of all the people in my life, more outgoing, more at peace, and so many other things. And these aren’t through anything I’ve done. I didn’t take a class or read a self help book, I started working to get myself lined up with the will of God for my life. I accepted that I’m a poor lord of my own life, and accepted the lordship of Jesus Christ. And no, it didn’t turn me into a Christian robot, it gave me freedom from my own nature. It’s given me access to unending power and unending love. So many of the changes I’ve felt were almost automatic, they weren’t even the case of me learning something in the bible. It’s just this unexplainable peace that settled over me, this awakened desire to try to be more holy every day. God had a use for me as I was, and he’s also working within me at the same time, guiding me towards holiness and giving me the strength and wisdom to walk that path and grow.
As for Peter, I think it’s safe to say that he was a pretty impetuous guy. He often spoke or acted without putting much thought into it. It’s one of his great strengths and also one of his great weaknesses. There are plenty of times in his travels with Jesus when Peter would express doubt or hesitation or just ignorance and Jesus had to correct him or chastise him for what he said. But there are two boat related things about Peter that really spoke to my heart that I wanted to share.
First, let’s look at Matthew 14:22-33. Here’s another of the most well known bible stories, the story of Jesus walking on water. Jesus sends his disciples ahead of him, and they’re out in a boat on stormy seas. In the night the wind is howling and the waves are beating on their boat, but they see a figure walking across the water towards them. “It is a ghost!” some of them cried out in fear. But it was Jesus, and he told them not to be afraid.
Let’s look at this situation. You’re in choppy seas at night and a figure comes walking out across the water towards you. The situation is so outlandish that some of the people in the boat actually think it’s a ghost out on the water. But as Jesus speaks and identifies himself, who is it that responds? Peter.
Matthew 14:28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
And Jesus thus commanded, and so while other people are scared and freaked out, while the wind whips and the waves crash, Peter hops out of the boat and walks on water. What a faith filled thing to do! The trust he had in the Lord at this moment, to know that since Jesus commanded it he could accomplish it. Of course, as part of his dual nature, Peter gets out on the water, sees the winds howling all around him, and he gets scared. Doubt creeps in, and he starts to sink. Jesus pulls him up and says “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” As much as it stinks that Peter didn’t see the task through and as sad as it is that his faith faltered once he was on the water, I want you to remember how many other people jumped out of the boat.
The second thing I want to touch on comes later, after the resurrection of Jesus. But I’ll save that for tomorrow, as this is already getting pretty long.
For prayers this time around, I’d ask that you pray for awakening. Over the past few months it just feels like God is shaking His believers awake and calling them back to Him. People like me, who’ve been comatose Chrsitians, seem to be waking up all around this area. So I’d ask that you’d join me in praying for awakening and for wisdom for the awakened, that they’ll realize that God is calling us to get back in line with Him, to get back under His lordship, back into His churches, and back on His path for our lives. I think we’re at the dawn of the churches mightiest age and I pray that as many people as possible can experience it.