Peter, the Up and Down Disciple

As we move toward Easter this month, we will look at events through the eyes of Peter. We saw him begin this journey by confessing his sin to Jesus. (See last week’s post – Simon Peter, at the Sea of Galilee.)

Peter had much to learn, but eventually he became a “fisher of men.” When all four Gospels give a list of the disciples, Peter is always listed first. He was a part of the “inner circle” of disciples, along with James and John. Peter was bold and burly before his conversion and that same personality came through afterward. It makes me think of how the Lord takes our personalities and gleans the best to be used for his purposes.

Like the other disciples, Peter had a plethora of exciting experiences as he followed Jesus.

He saw Jesus:

  • heal his mother-in-law
  • heal the paralytic man in Capernaum
  • restore the demon-possessed man on the other side of the sea
  • raise Jairus’ 12 year-old daughter from the dead

Peter heard the teachings of Jesus:

  • words of challenge, fulfillment, and warning
  • messages of belief, trust, and humility
  • teachings about dependence on God, the love of God, the justice and mercy of God

Peter heard the parables of Jesus:

  • weeds and seeds
  • pearls and nets
  • lost things and found things

Now he was rarin’ and ready, but Peter did have his ups and downs. Jesus had miraculously fed 5,000 people on the hillside. Each disciple had collected a basket of the left-overs. (12 disciples—12 left-over baskets), but they still had lessons to learn. Jesus told them to get in the boat and go to the other side of the sea, while he went up the mountain to pray. Into the night , the wind picked up and the men had to fight the waves with their oars.

25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matt. 14:25-27

And now, bold and impetuous Peter was ready.

28 Lord, if it’s you, ” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 Come,” he said. (with a smile?) Then Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Matt. 14:28-29

You’ve got to hand it to Peter. It was indeed a bold move. He had great faith to even try, but why? What was the point? Was he taking things into his own hands? Testing Jesus? Or just being unbridled Peter?

30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matt. 14:30-31

It was quite an emotional scene for all of them. Jesus and Peter climbed in the boat, the wind died down, and the waves of their emotions settled to the point that they could grasp all that had just happened. Their response?

33 Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

How often have I thought, what do I need to do? And I take  things into my own hands rather than asking Him what I need to do or I brood over an issue or decision without asking Him to intervene. Yes, like Peter, we have our “ups and downs” too. Are you thinking of a circumstance in your life when you have failed to put things in His hands? Reach out. He’s there to take your hand. He loves you so much that he offers his nail-scarred hand of sacrificial love to you.

~ Joyce ~

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *