Friday, November 15, 2013

LIKE A ROCK?


Peter was an ordinary man.  When he first met Jesus, Jesus changed his name to Peter (i.e. ‘rock’).  On a subsequent meeting, Jesus changed his occupation.  A lot of other changes would come about as a result of his relationship with Jesus.
No Fish or too many?  Peter was a fisherman.  His life was filled with the daily routine of caring for his boats and gear and putting out his nets.  That’s what he was doing when Jesus called him.  He fished hard all night without success, but then Jesus came and caused a miraculous catch.  “Depart from me, Lord,” said Peter.  “Follow me,” Jesus replied.

On water or under it?  On a storm tossed sea the disciples were frightened by what they thought to be a ghost, but it was Jesus walking on the water.  “Bid me come,” Peter said.  “Come,” Jesus replied.  And with eyes fixed on Jesus Peter walked on water.  But not for long.  He looked away, saw the wind, and began to sink.
Blessed or cursed?  “But who do you say that I am,” Jesus asked?  Peter was commended when he acknowledged Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  “Blessed are you,” Jesus declared!  But Jesus then warned of His pending sufferings and death.  Peter rebuked Him for it and Peter heard a different word: “Get behind Me, Satan!”

Wash or don’t wash?  The Master laid aside His garments and prepared to wash the feet of His disciples.  Peter protested, “Never shall you wash my feet!”  But then Jesus, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”  Peter changed his mind and asked for cleansing of his head, his hands, and his feet. 
Confident assertion vs. unequivocal denial.  With the cross at hand Jesus warned His disciples of their pending desertion.  Peter confidently disagreed: “Even though all may fall away because of you, I will never fall away.”  Hours later Peter emphatically and repeatedly denied even knowing Jesus.  Jesus looked at Peter.  Peter remembered what Jesus had said and “went out and wept bitterly.”

In the topsy-turvy nature of his discipleship it was his most significant failure.  Jesus had given him a new name, Peter (‘Rock’), but he wasn’t living up to it.  He vacillated between acts of great faith and wisdom and lacks of faith and spiritual foolishness.  In other words—he was just like us.  After denying Christ, Peter went back to fishing.  Jesus found him there and patiently and lovingly restored him to ministry.
It is an altogether different Peter that we read about in the book of Acts.  Previously, Jesus’ repeated predictions of His pending death made absolutely no sense to Peter, but after Pentecost he boldly proclaimed the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Previously, Peter shrunk back in fear when a slave girl asked him about his relationship with Jesus, but after Pentecost, before the Sanhedrin—who had the power to do him much harm—he boldly proclaimed Jesus to be the Christ and the sole means of salvation.

The post-Pentecost Peter is an altogether different Peter, a “like-a-rock” Apostle who stood firm and contended for the gospel in the face of unabated threats and persecution.  The fishermen was perfected the art of fishing for men.  How can we account for the difference?  What worked to bring about such a transformation? 
Prior to His arrest Jesus spoke to His disciples of the forthcoming ministry of the Holy Spirit.  He said that it was to their advantage that He (Jesus) go away, because in going He would send the “Helper.”  He was referring to the person of the Holy Spirit.  The Helper (Greek “parakletos” = “one called alongside to help”) would bear witness of Jesus, give understanding of truth, and indwell the disciples (John 14:17).  Later, Jesus spoke of the power the disciples would receive by the Spirit (Acts 1:8).  It is the Spirit of God who made all the difference in Peter’s life.  By the Spirit he was able to do things he could never have possibly done in his own strength.

And so it is for any of us.  Apart from the Spirit’s inner-working we are both unwise and impotent when it comes to spiritual matters.  As Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits not nothing” (John 6:63).  The believer is called to a walk by the Spirit.  Apart from Jesus we can’t lift a spiritual finger, but by the Spirit who works within us God is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think (John 15:5; Phil. 4:13).

1 comment:

Daniel Efosa Uyi said...

hey nice post mehn. I love your style of blogging here. The way you writes reminds me of an equally interesting post that I read some time ago on Daniel Uyi's blog: Taking Life’s Scenic Route When There Seems To Be Better Options .
keep up the good work.

Regards