The Word Weaver
Inviting you to know & embrace Jesus Christ
Deb Weaver
I Stand With Peter, the Wholehearted Disciple
by The Word Weaver, Deb on April 19th, 2018

​Don’t you just love Peter?   I do!  He was real and honest.  Bold.  Passionate.

He had a heart for God.  He risked uncertainty, ridicule, and failure.  When Jesus called him, he left his boat immediately and followed.  When he didn’t understand, he asked Jesus to clarify.  He jumped out of the boat more than once to rush toward Jesus.  When the Son of God explained that unless Peter let Him wash his feet, he could have no part of Him, the wholehearted disciple exclaimed, “Then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well.” (John 13: 1-17, NIV) 

At a point in Jesus' life on earth when many disciples, in disappointment and disillusionment, turned away at the hard teachings, He asked the Twelve, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”  Peter answered Him, “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.”  (John 6: 68-69, NIV)

Peter may not have completely understood the Kingdom of God before the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentacost, but he sought to follow and honor God with his entire being.  He was ALL IN.

And as a result, he experienced God in incredible, unique, intimate ways.  He had the privilege of proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  He witnessed the transfiguration and glory of the Lord, seeing revered prophets conferring with Him and hearing the affirmation of the Father from Heaven.  He witnessed mighty miracles.  He dined and walked and talked with Jesus.  He gave up everything for the Messiah.

I want to be like him.

​Oh, wait.  

​I am like Peter. 

**Peter wanted reachable righteous parameters“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?  Up to seven times?  (Matthew 18:21-22, NIV)

Haven’t I done the same?  I want to know when I can finally check my goodness off the list, skirt the harder issues, and still be justified.  I seek assurance that I’ve given sacrificially enough and proudly stand waiting for my golden sticker.  Religious rules are far easier and less costly than walking in the Lord’s righteous requirements.  Jesus doesn’t let me off the hook easily either.

**Peter slept when urgency in prayer was needed.  The Lord’s heart was breaking in anguish, but Peter and the other disciples could not rouse themselves from slumber. 

How many times have I intended to sit and pray only to awaken much later chilled in my chair? How many times has the heart of the Lord contracted in pain over a person’s life and He’s invited me to bear it with Him in prayer, but I have forgotten or have been too busy? 

**When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter sliced off someone’s ear in his determination to defend the Lord.

This shared characteristic stings a bit.  How many times have I been offensive in my rush to protect God? Perhaps I haven’t brandished a sword, but my tongue has sliced and stabbed.  And my tone of voice has pierced just as surely. God does not need my defense as much as my surrendered trust.    

**Shortly after Peter gloriously proclaimed who Jesus was, he then arrogantly and impetuously rebuked Jesus.  (Matthew 16) He did not understand God’s purpose for the Savior, and He spoke from His ignorance. 

When Jesus told him how to do his job, Peter dragged his feet before He dragged his nets.  He lectured God, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.  But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”  I can imagine him sighing as he said it!  When the nets began to break, so did Peter’s pride.  (Luke 5:4-8, NIV)

I, too, have arrogantly and ignorantly told the omniscient Lord how things work in my world before attempting them His way and realizing how little I really know.  I’ve also had the gall to repeatedly tell Him how to do (and how not to do) His job.  May I learn to live face-first before Him, trusting His sovereign knowledge, precepts, and purposes.

**After Jesus forgave and reinstated Peter to leadership, He warned him that discipleship would cost his life.  In that moment, Peter tried to change the difficult subject by pointing to another, asking, “Lord, what about him?” 

Jesus’ answer is the same to me when I try to compare myself or when I pout that another’s life is preferable.  He says (my paraphrase), “What business is it of yours?  You must follow Me.”   (John 21: 15-22) 

If you, like me, resemble Peter, there’s hope. 

​There’s good news.

​Once Jesus returned to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to indwell His people, this impetuous, unpredictable man became a Spirit-filled, gospel-freed disciple who went on to change the world and lead the Church with bold reliance upon the risen Lord.  He wrote the first and second books of the Bible that bear his name. 

In 1 Peter, he describes our living hope and new birth purchased for us by the death and resurrection of Jesus.  He lifts our eyes to our promised inheritance.  He assures us of our protection until that salvation is fully realized in the last day. 

Peter proceeds to encourage the saints who were undergoing horrific persecution, intense hardship, and painful daily realities.  He knew personally that pain blots vision and blurs perspective. He was, under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit, helping to wipe their eyes and restore their spiritual sight. 

He wrote it also for us.  He reminds us that God has a greater purpose in our experiences than we now see or understand. 

He says, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  (1 Peter 1:6-9, NIV)

The words of Peter—this man who knew intimately and painfully of the Refiner’s fire—carry significant weight.  He spoke of great joy resulting from trials.  He knew this firsthand.  His own faith and life had been shattered, shaken, and melted down in the refining fire He experienced following his denial of Jesus.  

​We can’t skip over that.

​Imagine with me how long those hours and nights and days following Jesus’ arrest must have felt.  Peter was heartsick and humiliated; after all, he’d sworn his allegiance emphatically, boldly, publicly. Oh, so brashly.  

When Jesus had warned his disciples that every one of them would fall away at his death, Peter had declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”  Jesus then specifically predicted how thoroughly Peter would deny knowing Him.  Still Peter crowed, “Even if I have to die with You, I will never disown You.”  (Mark 14: 27-31)

Perhaps afterward nausea hurled hot when he thought about it. 

First he’d witnessed the unbelievable betrayal of their friend Judas and, then even more, how shocking and terrifying it must have been to face his own act of betrayal.  How isolated, lonely, and bereft he must have felt.  Did he hide and barricade himself into his home?  Did he wish it was he who had died?  Surely death and despair thickened through his own bones while hopelessness made breathing difficult. 

In the days before the empty tomb was discovered, Peter experienced a lifetime of self-recriminations, shame, horror, and regret.  And it shaped him.  For good.  For God.

Then in the death, resurrection, love, and grace of Jesus, Peter discovered an undying love, a life-transformational power, and eternal purpose.  
 
Scripture Quote 1 Peter 1:6-7 accompanying The Word Weaver blog post/ Refined faith
This man—who once denied Jesus and would later be martyred for His name—knew what he was talking about when he wrote that difficulties refine, test, and strengthen our precious faith.  The struggles formed an unshakeable, genuine, precious life of faith and intimate relationship with God. 

As with Peter and the saints of old, may God use our day-to-day struggles, our doubts, our fears, our bewildering questions, our brokenness, and our pain to firmly fasten our hearts to Him.  May our love and faith become an unquenchable fire and an unshakeable trust that results in unending glory to Jesus Christ. 

Let’s wholeheartedly echo Peter’s life of worship.  Jesus is trustworthy and true.  In joy and in hardship, when we understand and when we don’t.  Jesus is our great joy.   We are His, and He is ours.  Now and forevermore.  
May our love & faith become unquenchable fire & unshakeable trust resulting in unending glory to Jesus/ Quote from The Word Weaver blog post
Scriptures Knit Into an accompanying post by The Word Weaver
​Matthew 4:18-20, 14:28-30, 15:1-20, 16:15-23, 17:1-4, 18:21-35
Mark 5:35-43, 14:27-33, 61-77 
Luke 5:4-8
John 6:68-69, 13:6-17, 21:2-6, 21:15-21
1 Peter 1:6-9
 
Related resources for The Word Weaver post
Convenient Tweetable quotes for The Word Weaver blog post


Posted in Tapestry of Truth: Scripture Insights    Tagged with Refining Fire, Refined Faith, Purpose of Trials, Trusting God, Wholehearted Worship, Peter, Gospel, Unshakeable


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