Peter was the magnificent failure. But I’m grateful for his story. As we examine his life and his actions and decisions, we see a man who was so much like us. I relate and understand Peter more then any other disciple in the New Testament. He was so real. He was so impulsive. He spoke before he thought, jumped in without looking and acted without thinking it through. Let’s take a look at Peter’s life after he met Jesus.
1) Peter, the fisherman-– When Jesus came to where the boat was kept, Peter latched on immediately to become a disciple. Jesus said, “Follow Me” and that is all Peter needed to hear. (Matt 4:18-20; Matt. 14:25-31).
2) Peter, the bold-– There was a situation on a boat in a terrible storm. It was between 3:00 am and 6:00 am. These men are desperately exhausted, and they were still three miles from safety. They suddenly see what appears to be a ghost, walking through the vicious storm to the boat. It is Jesus! He is walking on water, as if it were a sidewalk!
Peter shouts out– “Lord, if it is really you, allow me to leave this boat and let me come to you!” Peter steps out of the boat, and begins to walk– on water! But the wind whipping frightened him, and he began to sink. We see Jesus, reaching out to grab Peter, to save him from drowning. Before we judge him too harshly, how many of us would do what Peter did?
3) Peter, the confessor— Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was. Peter was the first to acknowledge Jesus’ deity as the Son of the living God. (Matt. 16:15-16)
4) Peter, the witness— Peter, along with James and John, have been chosen to accompany Jesus to go up to a mountain top to pray. When they arrive, something happens to Jesus. He is ‘transfigured’, His clothes shimmer and turn white. Then Moses and Elijah appeared, talking with Jesus. Being a man of action and not knowing what else to do, Peter offered to build shelters for the three holy men. An authoritative voice from heaven let him know that this was a time to worship, and to learn (Matt 17:1-4, Luke 9:28-36).
5) Peter, the reluctant one— Just before their last Passover, Jesus starts acting strange. He strips off His outer garments, until He is down to His underwear. He fills a basin with water, grabs a towel, and then begins to wash everyone’s feet. He has become the servant to His disciples. And Jesus will declare that this specific path is for every disciple that will follow. Peter is incensed, and declares himself to be immune from this claim.
6) Peter, the boaster— Jesus explains that the disciples cannot follow Him. Peter boasted that he would lay down his life for Jesus. This brought Jesus’ prediction that Peter would deny Him three times that very night. I wonder what Peter thought about this. He may have found it hard to believe, but we know that Jesus never lies.
When Jesus is arrested, Peter follows the cohort into the Temple. It is at this point, Peter begins to outright deny Jesus. It seems Peter can’t vocalize any support for His teacher and master. In his craven fear, Peter denies Him who spoke and taught him. How very sad, (John 13 and 18).
7) Peter the repentant— Jesus appeared to them again by the Sea of Gaililee. It is Peter, who from his fishing boat, identifies Jesus as Jesus. Once again, he jumps out of the boat, but this time to swim to the shore. The others follow in the boat. Jesus has started a fire, and fish are frying. On the shore, when they had finished eating, Jesus restores Peter. Peter reaffirmed his love for Jesus three times – the same number of times he had denied Him. Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.”
From that point, Peter followed Jesus closely. He went on to be a great preacher of the gospel and a leader of the church. He wrote 1st and 2nd Peter in the New Testament. In the Book of Acts, we see Peter cooperating closely with the Holy Spirit. His compulsiveness has been majorly modified and adapted to fit into the Kingdom. Peter is now a man restrained and directed into God’s Kingdom.