Peter, with a thick neck, bulging biceps, and rippled abs, was bold and brash, strong and courageous. As a man’s man, he only had one gear... full speed! He never backed down, never gave up!
At the invitation of Jesus, Peter did something that the other disciples wouldn’t. Peter stepped out of the boat and walked across the stormy sea (Matthew 14:28-29). He was daring and audacious.
When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus at Gethsemane, Peter grabbed a sword and slashed at the nearest foe. Maybe he was aiming to split his melon, but he missed and cut off his ear (John 18:10). Peter would’ve charged hell with a water pistol!
After sharing the final Passover meal with Jesus, Peter and the others had followed the Master toward the Garden of Gethsemane. On the way, Jesus took Peter aside. “ ‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus said to him, ‘today, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times’ ” (Mark 14:30, CSB).
“Three times? Nothin’ doin’!” was Peter quick reply! “If I have to die with you, I will never deny you” (Mark 14:31, CSB). At that moment, Peter couldn’t imagine turning his back on Jesus. Surely, he thought, he wasn’t capable of rejecting his Master and Savior.
Just a few hours later, after Jesus was arrested, Peter watched from the courtyard below as the Lord Jesus was interrogated, battered, and abused at the hands of evil men. Fear crept into Peter’s heart and mind as he watched Jesus endure the indignation of His captors.
Then it happened... three times (Matthew 26:69-74, Luke 22:56-59, John 18:15-17; 25-27).
Peter wimped out! When a little girl looked at Peter and spoke, “You were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth”, Peterdenied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about” (Mark 14:67-68). When the rooster crowed, Peter “broke down and wept” (Mark 14:72, CSB).
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may know that this is the twenty-first offering concerning the messed-up people in Mark’s Gospel.
We’re all messed-up. The leper. The quadriplegic. The man controlled by a legion of demonic spirits. The arrogant religious leaders. And Peter, the leading man in the inner-circle of Jesus’ closest friends and followers... messed-up.
Luke alone records the following encounter: “Simon, Simon, look out. Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:31-32, CSB). Jesus gives each of us the same warning and makes the same promise (I John 2:1, Hebrew 7:25, Romans 8:26-27).
Years later, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Peter addressed me and my messed-up friends with these comforting and encouraging words. “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you. Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world” (I Peter 5:5-9, CSB).
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor