For the next few weeks, we are looking at some of the characters of the Easter story. We often bring them to life for this season and miss the life lessons they offer. Some of them have become simply characters and we miss that they are real people who chose to follow a real Jesus for various reason and each of their lives can give us a growth lesson.
Sometimes I hear, “it is just so hard to be a Christian!” When I hear that I know what people are saying, they mean, what I think a Christian is supposed to be, I just can’t live up to! Well, this morning we are going to talk about someone that I think in one way or another, everyone can identify with him. He was an entrepreneur; he was bold and courageous but also had a tendency to put his foot in his mouth. He was loyal, a true friend but also loved passionately but when he blew it, beat himself up with equal passion. His greatest strengths often caused him his greatest heartache but if you were his friend….you knew you were his friend. Today we will look at the life of this man who shows us that a real Christian can be real in every way full of flaws and warts but also grace, forgiveness, and power. Today’s guest is Peter
DRAMA – PETER
When we first met Peter, he was just fishing
One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.
Peter was a fisherman, the owner of a small business with his family. He had to use his head and his heart to make a living with all the other fisherman of Galilee.
Peter was very and always opinionated as we see, it seems every time he opens his mouth sometimes he was right…like jumping out of the boat to walk on the water…sometimes wrong “Jesus I won’t let you die,” “I won’t ever deny you”
Peter was a man of action – raising a sword against a man when he was facing a whole garrison of soldiers
Peter was most likely the administrator of the group as Jesus set him on management tasks…so his business skills must have been very good
Peter was close to Jesus
Peter was one of the three most trusted with the greatest access to Jesus…the mount of transfiguration, Jairus daughter, garden of Gethsemane.
Peter knew who Jesus really was
Mark 8: 27-30
Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
28 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”
29 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”
30 But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Peter fearfully failed
John 13: 37,38
“But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.”
38 Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.
Peter was so sure of the depth of his devotion; Jesus was so sure of its shallowness. And we know the end of the story; Peter cursing denied Jesus not once, but three times, prompting him, the Bible says, to go and weep bitterly. What failure! What incredible cowardice! Peter, how could you?
No…how could we? Reality check, please! Time to get a grip, folks. Ready for this?
I am Peter. And so are you. I don’t know of a single Christian who can’t identify at some points with Peter. I don’t know of a single one of us who can’t identify with guilt.
We struggle with guilt resulting from
the frequency of sin (“I just can’t seem to stop doing it!”),
the effects of sin (“I hurt so-and-so so badly!”), and
the seriousness of sin (“what I did was so bad!”).
Remember, Jesus was the friend of sinners. The drunks and the tax collectors and the prostitutes were glad to see Him. His condemnation He saved for the better-than-thou, snide-remarking, down-the-nose-looking Pharisees. Do you look at Peter as though his sin is one you would not have committed had you been in his place? How self-deceived can you be?
Even before he came to Christ he battled with guilt and shame. How many times have we denied the Lord through omission, having the opportunity to share Him and then not doing it. Bearing a false witness, claiming to be a Christ-follower then acting in front of others contrary to that claim.
Despite Peter’s battles and our battles, Christ did something that changed everything
He chose to reconcile Peter as He chooses everyday to reconcile us to Him.
As humans we fail, as Christians working daily to become like Jesus we fail and the enemy loves to pounce on our guilt, our perfectionism, our shame, anything that will stop us from becoming everything God has called us to be. Peter was a great example of what the enemy wants to do and what Christ has done for him and for us!
Peter had now become broken, this leader of men, this administrator of the 12, this most faithful one. Jesus made it personal for him and for you and I.
John 17: 13-19
Now I am coming to you (God the Father). I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.
Jesus went to the cross for Peter, even though his betrayal was so personal and he went to the cross for you and I. He demonstrated His love for Peter and you and me by choosing to go to the cross and choosing to intercede for us the night before he was to be crucified.
Jesus knew Peter was going to deny Him, Peter felt he could not sin that was other people’s problem not his, he would never deny the Lord. Peter did sin, as you and I do and it is that sin that separates us from God…One of Jesus’ key purposes in becoming a man was so that we could have relationship with the Father…even though Peter blew it, turned is back on three years of friendship Jesus still went to the cross for him and for you and I.
I need to talk with you for a minute about sin….sin is not the real problem. Sin is a result of the brokenness in side of us that causes us to keep hurting ourselves, to do things we don’t want to do. To do things that stop us from becoming who we are made and called to be. I don’t know if Peter had a hard time forgiving others, if bitterness, insecurity, and maybe pride reigned inside of him but whatever it was Jesus went to the heart of his brokenness, he didn’t leave him alone
Jesus went after Peter
John 21: 3
Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. 4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. 5 He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. 6 Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. 7 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. 8 The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. 9 When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. 10 “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn. 12 “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. 14 This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.
Jesus great love for us always pursues us even if we are trying to run and hide or otherwise occupy ourselves to not deal with our pain, regret, remorse….Jesus sees us, knows us, created us for a greatly divine purpose and always pursues us to reach out to heal that brokenness that causes us to sin and separate from the one who loves us the most…He wants us fulfilled and happy because that blesses the Father…he will pursue us until we will sit and listen…
Jesus put him back on the right path
After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. 17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
Jesus healed Peter’s brokenness, asking him first, “Do you love me”… more than these others that are standing around you….do you care more for what I say about you than what you think others might be saying about you, do you believe what I have to say more than what they might say in their brokenness….Peter got healed as he began to believe what Jesus had to say was more important than what anyone else may have said or is saying…..DO YOU?
For every time Peter denied Jesus, He asked him if Peter loved him, overwhelming in his heart each denial with a confession of faith….Jesus wants to heal our brokenness, our sin but we have to stand on God’s word and believe because our own flesh, people and the devil will constantly remind us of our failures but God’s word reminds us who we are and who we are becoming. He has a call on our lives and battles to overcome our sin, guilt and shame to refocus on the call!
You really don’t have a sin problem; you have a brokenness problem that you can’t fix, the good news… Jesus will fix it for you if you will give it to Him…don’t get stuck on the sin, focus on the healing the brokenness that caused the sin.
Jesus loves you and will pursue you, no matter where you go or how you feel, He is the one that loves you the most…He will never give up on you and will come after you…just let Him love you.
He always has a plan for you and if you will believe He has forgiven you and that you don’t need guilt, shame, or putting yourself down in anyway…God’s plan is for your good, a hope, and a future….don’t allow your brokenness to limit God’s plan
Today, can you get rid of your sin, your guilt, shame….will you allow God to heal your brokenness as He did Peter’s… don’t waste another day come and receive prayer