Some years ago, my friend Rick and I were discussing bible characters and he said that his favourite bible character was David. I just smiled back, rather condescendingly, and asked, “Is that because of the Bathsheba story?”. He nodded and replied, “Yes” reasoning that it’s a story that gives him hope!
They say a man is known by the company he keeps. I would go a step further and say a man is known by the people he identifies with. This explains why many Christians often huddle up together, moving from one programme to another. However, there is great risk in this community mindset, as we can easily excuse our own shortcomings by looking at our companions and justifying our own behaviour. “Oh, if my friend is doing it, it can’t be all that wrong!!”
When I look at the scriptures, there is one person who stands head and shoulders above everyone else. I identify myself so much with this man – Peter. Even a murdering, lusting, scheming David has to come second to this ‘mighty man of God’
I see my life mirrored in Peter. Look at this guy! A businessman, swearing, cussing, losing his temper; he is the kind of guy you would bump into at a bar (and then hoped you hadn’t!).
But let me confess. It’s not his swearing or temper that draws me to him. What I see in Peter is a man who always messes up. A man who unintentionally lets people down. He thinks he has a grip on it all, only to realise that he is nowhere near the finishing line. And you know what; he can’t even confess his shortcomings to the judgemental fraternity!
An illiterate fisherman, Peter got it right when he said that Jesus is the Messiah. He was so in love with Jesus that he even rebuked Jesus when he said that he has to go on the cross to die! Passionately, he confessed that even if everyone else leaves Jesus, he never would. Only to go ahead and deny even knowing Jesus a few hours later
He always messed up. He let Jesus and himself down.
But the beauty of this man’s story is in Mark 16:7 (emphasis added) “Go tell the disciples AND Peter…” Did the Holy Spirit get it wrong here? Peter was one of the disciples. Why did he call out Peter, specifically by name?
When Peter felt he had messed up and done the unimaginable, Jesus chose to pick up this bruised and battered believer again… and again. An illiterate. A failure. A man who could not keep his commitment. An impulsive idiot. Peter, whom the world would reject, was Jesus’ choice. For some strange reason, he who would never fit into the mould of a pastor, priest or evangelist qualified simply through grace. (Ephesians 2:9)
Let me show you something more about this man that gives me hope. Peter was not as drastically changed as we would want to believe even after Pentecost. More than ten years later, he still walked around believing he was better off than the non-Jews. He would not even want to have a meal with them, let alone break bread.
Yes, yes, I know that he preached a storm and saved 3000 people at one go. Amen to that. But he also struggled to maintain relations with his fellow evangelist Paul!
And yet, through all this, Jesus continued to use him. Peter finally met his end on a cross, upside down. He stood strong for Jesus. He did not have it all together, but he was used and finished strong.
That gives me hope. Because, I don’t have it all right either. I fall flat on my face with decisions I make, quarrels I pick up, issues I don’t let go off… And guess what? I do have issues with fellow workers in the Kingdom. But I am relieved to know it does not disqualify me. When I fall, Peter encourages me to pick up the pieces and start again.
His love is greater than my darkest sin.
His grace is better than my greatest effort. (ClicktoTweet)
Can you imagine being commissioned to the greatest task in all history? Can you imagine that like Peter, Jesus has picked up you and me?
Peter gives me hope.
Who gives you hope? What have you been able to apply from their lives to yours? Share with us your thoughts below in the comment section.