I have always been a visual learner, especially when it comes to watching kids Bible videos. There have been days in my adult life where theologically rich books authored by J.I. Packer, Spurgeon or Tozer just won’t do- I’ll have to watch a simple kid’s Bible video on YouTube.
When I was younger, my grandparents would put on VHS Bible tapes for me and my cousins to watch. To this day, my grandparents probably wouldn’t remember that they used to do this, but one of my favorite movies of all time is the animated film The Prince of Egypt. The Prince of Egypt is a children’s film that faithfully tells the Exodus story of Moses leading the Hebrew people out of slavery.
That movie has nothing to do with this blog post, except that I’ve always been stirred to worship the character of God with a child-like faith by watching it.
It’s on Netflix, so stop playin’ around and go watch it. . . After reading this.
I think it’s crucial for the believer to come before the Master with a child-like faith. Never mind how you went to seminary, never mind how much of a theologian you think you are- whether you’ve been in the ministry for years or you were saved last week- I would exhort you to go before Him with a child-like faith (Matthew 19:14).
The reason I say this is because I’d like to use this blog post to recognize and celebrate the ministry of the Apostle Peter (aka. Simon Peter aka. Cephas). This week I’ve found myself reading a lot about Peter within the scriptures. I freaking love Peter. Mostly because of how much I see myself as him. I’ve always envisioned Peter as the guy who just comes off as a jerk but is really just protective of the Master- and Jesus telling him to chill out. Pastors will also give Peter a bad rep often times for his childish mistakes repeated through the scriptures. However, we must remember first and foremost that Peter loved Jesus– and Jesus loved Peter.
I want to center our attention on two focal points of Peter’s life within the scriptures. The first is his denial of Jesus and the second is his redemption by Jesus.
Here is the Gospel through the life of Peter:
Peter Denies Jesus
Throughout the gospels, we see Peter as the overzealous one who was always beside Jesus. He saw every miracle as the “inner circle,” boldly left the boat to meet the Lord on the waters of Galilee and most importantly- trusted in who Jesus said He was (Matthew 16:16). Peter may have been seen as the “older brother” of the disciples and often spoke for them (John 6:68, Matthew 19:27, Luke 12:41). We could also infer that Peter had quite a fiery temper and acted out overzealously in the defense of Jesus (Matthew 16:22, John 18:10).
Then there is the tragic denial. When Jesus foretells His death at the last supper, Jesus tells Peter that Satan himself demands Peter’s soul (Luke 22:31-32). Peter responds by telling Jesus that he would go anywhere for him; even to death (Luke 22:33).
But even when Jesus needed Peter the most – Peter denied even knowing his greatest friend. Think about that, Peter denied all the meals they had together in those three years, all the miracles, and even the moment when Jesus pulled him from the waves. The scriptures remind us that Peter went out and wept bitterly (Luke 22:62). When Jesus was drowning in His own blood within His lungs- Peter was nowhere to be found.
I could imagine Peter in agonizing defeat separated from the rest of the disciples in shame. . .
But then there is the God of the Gospel. . .
Jesus Restores Peter
The gospel narratives continue with a sequence of events in which Jesus appears to the disciples. In Mark 16:7, the angel at Jesus’ tomb specifically instructs Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James to not only tell the disciples- but Peter that Jesus will be at Galilee!
However, the one gospel account that I can’t get through without shedding a couple tears is John 21. If I’ve ever measured the magnitude of my own sin, I look at John 21 and marvel at a wonderful Savior. I love this:
The disciples are out fishing on the sea of Galilee not knowing what to expect. They’ve just been told Jesus would be at Galilee (Mark 16:7). However, I could imagine Peter casting his nets wondering how he could’ve changed that scenario replaying in his mind.
Suddenly, a voice calls out to them telling them to cast their nets to the right side of their boat- they do so and instantly receive a catch too heavy for them to pull in (John 21:4-6). They know it’s the Lord (verse 7). See also Luke 5:3-7.
Peter, stripped for work, clothes himself and jumps into the sea once again to meet the Lord. Now, Jesus could’ve have condemned Peter and cast him off to eternal punishment, but that isn’t the case.
Instead, they have breakfast together! Jesus then restores Peter three times- Peter declaring his love for the Lord three times. Not only that but Jesus re-commissions Peter as an apostle (verse 19) to lead His church (Matthew 16:18-19). By the way, Jesus didn’t commission Peter to lead a local church, instead, Jesus leaves Peter to lead THE Church.
Peter then goes on to baptize the first Gentile; Cornelius (Acts 10). He preaches the first sermon to the Church at Pentecost (Acts 2) and boldly responds to the Jewish authority in Acts 5:29-32. If that weren’t enough, he was beaten and rejoiced because he was counted worthy to suffer in the Lord’s Name (Acts 5:41).
Although not recorded in the scriptures, tradition states that Peter was eventually crucified upside down under the reign of Nero because he did not feel worthy to die the same way Jesus did. Even in death, Peter worshiped Jesus.
I look at the story of Peter and rest in knowing that the Lord can use anyone for His glory. My sin cannot outweigh the saving work of Jesus on the cross! Peter literally denied knowing the Son of God and Jesus restored him. Jesus can forgive us our deepest and darkest sin when we deserve the opposite. That’s the beauty of the Gospel and the greater character of God.
I’m constantly having to remind myself of the Gospel. A phenomenon by which men of the Lord could lead with zeal- turn to pornography the same day- and still be saved secure in Christ Jesus through their repentance. The Gospel is the work at which we slander our neighbors, and yet Jesus still has not spoken against us. It’s the most wonderful story ever and He is the hero of it all. It’s about us being in danger and He does all the saving. He didn’t have to, but He did. It’s what we sing and celebrate every Sunday when the local church gathers.
My hope is that the Gospel would be the unending theme every week contained in each of these posts.
Side by side,
With all that said about Peter, my residency has been a blast so far! I’m coming around the corner to a full month of vocational ministry! This past Monday, my supervisor took a few of our team to see Jesus Culture, Bethel Music, and Lauren Daigle for the Outcry Tour.
It. Was. Incredible. . . I couldn’t hang by the time Jesus Culture started playing. I was all tired out. But when Jesus gives me a new body in Heaven, I’ll probably be able to hang for eternity without fainting.
Dope. Lit af. Cray.
This Week on Spotify:
Featured image: Jesus and Apostle Peter Walk on Water by Larry Ferris