Chronicled throughout the New Testament, particularly
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as well as Acts and I and II Peter
Ah, Pete. You gotta love a hothead, right? Man, he was brazen and stuck his foot in his mouth more times than the day is long. Sound like any of us? Yeah, it sounds a lot like me…not that I’m bragging. For all of Peter’s faults (and there were plenty), he was a man of great passion. When he loved, he loved hard. When he hated, he hated even harder. Remember reading about Peter chopping the ear of a Roman soldier off when they came to arrest Jesus? Yeah, he was that guy…
Unfortunately, his temper wasn’t his only problem. Peter was also weak. He was strong on the exterior, but frail on the inside, where it really counts. When the going got tough, Peter had a tendency to cave like a collapsed mine shaft in the face of peril. Case in point: Peter has the auspicious distinction as the only human being other than Jesus to walk on water. He showed great faith in stepping out of that boat. However, when he began to notice the wind and waves rustling around him, he lost heart and sank.
How about the time Peter fell asleep when he was supposed to be standing watch for Jesus? Typical Peter. Another example of Peter’s instability involves the night before Jesus was crucified. The Lord prophesied to Peter that he would deny knowing Him three times before morning. Sure enough, three times that Peter was confronted about his association with the Savior, he buckled under the pressure. Traitor!
To top it off, after Jesus’ death, Peter quietly went back to his old life as a fisherman, essentially giving up on ministry. In other words, he quit. You would think that Peter, one of the twelve disciples, who walked with Jesus in the flesh every day for three years, would have more resolve than that. Well, before we start puffing out our chests and proclaiming our “undying allegiance,” we should take a long look in the mirror.
We too deny Christ with our actions much of the time. We too take great leaps of faith, only to “sink” when life gets rough. After all, nobody’s perfect. Thank God for grace! Fortunately, Jesus never gave up on His “work in progress.” He took Peter, spiritually picked him up and dusted him off, and handed him another chance at walking into his destiny. Jesus also left behind a little present for Peter: the Holy Spirit. One gift changed old Pete’s life forever.
Once Peter was filled with the Spirit, he became one of the apostles, a juggernaut of faith and a founding father of the Church. He became the guy whose mere shadow would heal people as it passed by them (Acts 5); he’s the one who uttered, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).
So, how do we triumph in the midst of trial? Walk daily in the Spirit. God’s power lives there.