In God’s word, you’ll find no shortage of interesting people. For example, there’s Noah, a man who built a giant boat to save his family in a worldwide flood. There’s also Moses, an adopted prince who led an entire nation out of slavery in Egypt. And we can’t forget Jesus Himself, the divine Savior of humanity who was brutally murdered and resurrected three days later. Apart from Jesus, there’s one popular character in the New Testament that stands out. The apostle Peter offers us not only some important epistles, but some incredible lessons we all need to learn. Today, let’s explore a few lessons from Peter’s story from afternoon host and pastor Jeff Loman.
HUMILITY IS A NATURAL RESPONSE TO JESUS
In Luke chapter 5 when we first meet the simple fisherman, Jesus instructs him to go out to deeper waters and let his nets down. Peter explains that had been fishing all day and caught nothing, yet he decided to go along with the request of this popular teacher. Verse 6 records that his team caught so much fish that the nets weren’t just full, but they were on the verge of breaking. Imagine for a moment what you might think as a fisherman who just made the biggest catch of his lifetime:
“I can make so much money off of this catch!”
“Maybe it’s time to buy a new boat?”
“I can take care of my family for weeks!”
“Maybe I can hire this Jesus guy and we can do this every day!”
Yet Peter’s response in Luke 5:8 is one that we don’t need to miss…
“When Simon Peter saw it, he got down at the feet of Jesus. He said, ‘Go away from me, Lord, because I am a sinful man.’”
In that moment, Peter’s focus wasn’t on what He could gain from Jesus. He understood that a miracle of God happened on his boat. He understood that Jesus was someone incredible. And he understood that as a sinful man, he had no business being anywhere near this miraculous teacher. Peter’s response wasn’t pride, greed, or considering what Jesus could do for him in the future. His response was humility and the knowledge that he didn’t deserve to be even in the vicinity of the Lord. His perspective wasn’t of self-service, but understanding that he was not enough for Jesus. Yet Jesus called him into ministry, just like He does with us.
FEAR WILL BLOCK FAITH
One of the most popular accounts including Peter is one you’ll find in every children’s bible story book. Surely you know the miraculous tale of his troublesome stroll across the water found in Matthew 14:22-33. After a night on the water, the apostles look out to see Jesus walking atop the water toward them. The Savior called Peter out to join Him, and for a few moments, the fisherman was putting one front in front of the other across the surface.
However, something changed as Peter turned his eyes from the Savior to the sea. Verse 30 says that at the same time he began to fear, he also began to sink. Jesus is quick to reach out and catch him, but then asks a telling question, “Why did you doubt?”
Both we and Peter have a choice to make every time Jesus calls us to follow Him into something uncertain. We can choose faith or fear, but we can’t choose both. And the result of each choice is quite clear. Which will you choose?
FAILURE DOES NOT DISQUALIFY YOU FROM SERVING JESUS
As we read through the gospel accounts, the fisherman is well known for speaking his mind and making bold statements. In fact, when Jesus predicted that his apostles would reject Him in Matthew 26:31-35, Peter was the first to profess that he would never deny Jesus. Yet later in that chapter, Peter does exactly that. He denies Jesus not once, not twice, but three times. Scripture then says that he went out and “wept bitterly.”
Imagine being in Peter’s sandals. You promise to follow Jesus. For years, you watch Him do miraculous things. You know that He is the Son of God. But on the worst night of your life, you deny you even knew Him. It’s all over for you, right? Surely there’s not a chance God would ever use you again. Furthermore, you know there’s no way that your friend Jesus would want anything to do with you after that.
Yet Scripture tells us a different story than the one Peter expected. Not only did he get to see the resurrected Christ and restore that relationship, he also got to be a bold proclaimer of the gospel of Jesus. Acts 2:14-41 records his sermon at Pentecost which resulted in 3,000 followers added to their numbers.
Yes, Peter made some huge blunders, but God had plans for him that were far greater than the mistakes he had made. And It’s the same for you, friend. You might have thought God was done with you. However, the life of this transformed fisherman and the promise in Philippians 1:6 brings us a comforting truth.
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”