Posts Tagged ‘Peter’

John 21:15-17

In John 21:15-17 Jesus has a very intimate interaction with Peter.  Jesus had met with Peter individually on the day of His resurrection, but a public restoration was also needed.  You’ll recall that Peter denied knowing Jesus three times on the eve of the crucifixion.  So Jesus is now rebuilding the important relationship they had together before that series of events. “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Jesus waited until the entire group had finished eating before He takes Peter on a journey to discover their relationship again.

Jesus began by asking a simple question: do you love me more than these?  It seems like a strange questions He asks Peter to compare his love for Jesus with that of the other disciples.  Remember that Peter had earlier claimed a very deep and all consuming love for Jesus.  Peter answers as you would expect. “He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” But Jesus response was maybe not what was expected.  For Peter to follow through with his love for Jesus, he must give himself to the service of God’s people.  It isn’t enough to say he loves Jesus.  Love needs to be lived out.

Jesus goes on to probe again. “He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” The first time Jesus asks about Peter’s love He tells him to ‘feed my lambs’.  This time Jesus instructs Peter to ‘tend my sheep’ which is a deepening responsibility in the service of the people around him.  But wait, there’s more. “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

This time Peter doesn’t really like the question.  After all he’s answered it twice already.  What really grieved Peter was the three-time repetition of the exact same question focused on his love and commitment to the Savior, because it was a plain reminder of his previous three-time denial on the evening Jesus was being arrested before His crucifixion.  It’s painful stuff.  Jesus allowed Peter a three-fold public affirmation of love to replace a three-fold denial, and gave him a three-fold challenge to serve those in his patch by feeding and tending to those around him.  That’s how we show our love for Jesus.  We serve people just as He did.  We show love as we love others.  That’s how Jesus knows any of us love Him!

2 Peter 3

2 Peter 3 has our author reminding his audience of the certainty of the last days and God’s promise.  There will be plenty of things to distract us from remembering what God has promised.  “I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires”.  God has given us plenty of promises about our future, but there will be many that scoff and throw cold water on what we know to be true.

How will false teachers try to dispel God’s truth?  “For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.  But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and  destruction of the ungodly”.  God created the heavens and the earth.  He spoke them into existence.  He will also hold us accountable on judgment day when we stand before Him and give account of our life.  We’ll come up short.  It’s why we need Jesus!

It’s going to happen.  It doesn’t matter whether we believe it will or not.  God’s truth will happen. We don’t know when, but we do know that it will come.  “Do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. God doesn’t want any of us to perish.  But judgment is coming, and the world as we know it will pass away.  We’ll end up one of two places, depending on how we stand before God and give account.  Without Jesus, we won’t make it to heaven.  We need a Savior.

What should we do to prepare for judgment day?  “Be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you….grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.  We need to be ready.  None of us know when our day will come to stand before God.  We all need to know that the day will come.  We will need to give account.  And the key to being able to meet God’s requirements of sinless perfection is to be covered by the blood of Christ so our sins are forgiven and God sees us as holy in His way.

2 Peter 1

2 Peter 1 has the Apostle reminding us that God has given us all things.  “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire”.  We come to knowledge of Him as we learn of Him through His Word, through prayer, and through the community of God’s people. It is true that we need God alone, but God does not meet us only in our solitude but also in the community of His people.

Peter challenges us to grow in our walk with Christ.  It begins with faith….” For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love”….and it ends with love.  Love is the ultimate outcome of all God’s work in us. These beautiful qualities are not things that the Lord simply pours into us as we sit back and wait but we are called to work on these things, working in partnership with God to build them into our lives.

Be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall”. This shows how we can be sure that God called us, and that we are His elect. As we see these things in our life, we know that our lives are becoming more like Jesus. It shows that we are being conformed to the image of His Son.  We have to pay attention because the enemy wants to stop our efforts to become like Christ.  “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty”.  The enemy tries to deceive us.  We have to focus on growing our character.

We can have confidence in what will happen.  “We have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”. Even in Peter’s day enemies of Jesus twisted Old Testament prophecies, giving them personal and bizarre meanings attempting to change the future of God’s plan through Jesus.

1 Peter 5

1 Peter 5 has him reminding the elders to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory”.  The label ‘elder’ is more about wisdom and maturity than age. Peter was qualified to speak because he is a fellow elder.  There is a responsibility to use our wisdom to help those in our patch.

Peter then speaks to the younger crowd and says “you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you”. His word to be submissive to one another and be clothed with humility applies to everyone.  Leaders mus still be under authority.  Only God is an authority with no other. True humility is shown by our ability to cast our care upon God. It is pride and presumption to worry and care about things that God has promised to take care of.

He reminds us that we have a very real enemy who is out to destroy us.  “Be sober-minded; be watchful.Your  adversary the devil prowls around  like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world”. Peter exhorts us to remain clear-headed (sober) and watchful, because Satan has not yet been bound and restrained.  We know what happens at the end of the war, but for now, the enemy is still out fighting battles seeking to destroy us.

And Peter wraps up his letter reminding us what lies ahead.  “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you”.  We may indeed go through some suffering, but it won’t be without a reward.  Peter lists four things that God Himself will do for us as Christ Followers if we endure and come before Him one day. But what does this glory looks like.  Guzik shared this list:

– It is the glory of purified character.

– It is the glory of perfected humanity.

– It is the glory of complete victory.

– It is the glory of being honored by a King.

– It is the glory of reflecting the glory of God.

– It is the glory of the immediate and constant presence of God.

– It is the glory of the enjoyment of God Himself.

God, who will do this great work in our lives is certainly worthy of our praise.

Acts 12

Acts 12 has “Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church”.  He feels threatened and like he was loosing control, so “He killed James the brother of John with the sword”.  Herod sends a message, and the people liked it, so “he proceeded to arrest Peter also”.  If killing one of the Twelve got good reviews, Herod was upping the ante and going after one of the most visible ring leaders of the Apostles.  So he grabbed Peter and put him in prison, “delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people”.  Herod is not taking any chances.  He’s grabbed a big fish and doesn’t want to let him get away.

“Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church”.  Everyone knows Peter is in jail, and the church does the only thing it can which was to pray.  “Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison”.  There is no way Peter was escaping.  He was chained to two guys and others were at the door.  But God is not stopped by that attempt and the night before Herod intended to turn Peter over, “an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell.  He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands”.

God showed up and did the unbelievable.  Peter “thought he was seeing a vision”.  But after leaving the prison he comes to understand this wasn’t a vision at all, but the great escape orchestrated by God Himself.  Peter “went to the house of Mary….where many were gathered together and were praying”.  Peter goes the only place he knows to go – to the place the church was meeting and praying.  They can’t believe it is actually him.  After all, Herod was clear that he has no intent of letting Peter get out alive.  When morning came, it wasn’t a pretty sight.  “Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter”.  Can you imagine the chaos of those soldiers trying to explain what happened.

“And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death”.  They knew what would happen if they let Peter get away.  And it happened without them being even a little aware – God did it right in front of their sleeping noses.  So they paid the ultimate price being killed for failing to keep Peter secure.  Herod looked all over for him and then moves on taking credit for things he had nothing to do with.  As a result, “an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last”.  God struck down this king as he mocked God.  That is never a good idea.  As a result of what happened to Peter, “the word of God increased and multiplied”.  God continues to bless the church through its scattering.  Oh that we’d be as faithful as the early church to share the truth of Jesus!

Matthew 14

Matthew 14 has the death of John the Baptist happening at the hands of Herod the tetrarch.  John had condemned him for the way the king had taken his brother’s wife, but in a drunken offer to his daughter, he got caught with a pledge to do what she asked which was for John the Baptist’s head on a platter.  Her mother, tired of hearing John accuse them of adultery, asked for his death and the king felt no choice but to carry through and deliver on his pledge.  So John was killed.  Jesus shows His humanness when His friend and the one who was preparing His way is killed. “Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself”.  If you wonder if Jesus had human feelings, He did.

Jesus comes back to shore and is greeted by a large crowd of people.  He teaches and heals them.  It is getting late in the day and His disciples say “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves”.  They were isolated and had no obvious way to meet the needs of this crowd.  But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat”.  Can you imagine the looks He got from the Twelve.  A large crowd, middle of nowhere, and no preparation to care for their needs.  They tell Him the obvious which was “We have only five loaves here and two fish”.  Hardly enough to make a very big dent in the crowd.

Jesus is not even phased by their response.  It didn’t matter if there was not even enough to feed the Twelve.  Anything plus Jesus is enough.  The Twelve hadn’t experienced that yet.  But Jesus asks them to bring all they have, and He blessed it and “broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds”.  So far, so good, but remember he only had 5 loaves and 2 fish to work with.  But here’s what happened: “they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over”.  They pick up more leftovers than they started with.  That’s the abundance of Jesus.  Maybe the crowd wasn’t really a crowd?  Hardly the case.  “And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children”.  The sufficiency of Jesus is always more than enough!

They dismiss the crowd with full bellies and Jesus decides to go across the lake to the other side. The disciples are out there in the dark, and see someone coming at them walking on the water.  They are petrified.  But Jesus says “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid”.  Peter does his normal thing and boldly says “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water”.  Peter isn’t afraid to test Jesus and His power.  And Jesus isn’t afraid to use this as a lesson in that power.  He said, “Come. So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus”.  The lesson here is that Peter got out of the boat and trusted His Savior.  We have to run toward Him and trust His power.  It was going well until Peter took his eyes off the Master.  “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, Lord, save me”.  The key is to keep our eyes on the Master.  He is the Way!

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