I’ve always pictured Peter as a wild eyed, passionate follower of Jesus who was convinced that he could take on the world. He’s someone that I could relate to.
He was often the first to ask a question, or the first to try and correct His Savior. He lived with a wild boldness that he was determined to use for the conquering for Christ. And yet, he was continually left in confusion at the expectations and mannerisms of His Leader.
One thing is for sure; Peter was all in for Jesus and gave his whole heart in this pursuit.
When Jesus questions His disciples on whether or not they will leave Him as well, Peter is the one to answer, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
He is convinced that this Jesus is worth following and thus He will follow the rest of his days.
But this didn’t keep him from questioning His Saviors actions. He wanted His Jesus to walk in the power and greatness that he knew He possessed. I would venture to think that Peter had a heart of adventure and passion and was ready for fiercer battles than what He saw displayed in the Son of God.
When Jesus stoops down to wash the disciple’s feet, Peter is the one to refuse, considering this task an absolute disgrace for His Lord. And yet when Jesus explains the necessity of this action, Peter responds, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head.”
Peter is desperate to declare his full devotion to His Lord. He longs to convince Him that he is all in and a fully dedicated follower.
That’s the sort of passion that every believer longs for-the radical, world-changing kind. But this isn’t the end of Peter’s story.
Peter was out to prove His full commitment, right up until it counted the very most.
There in the courtyard, His Lord is on trial, mocked and beaten, and His most passionate follower has gone and rejected Him.
Peter denies that he even knew Christ, when up until this point He’s tried His best to prove that He’d die for His beloved Lord.
What happened to bring about such a radical change in Peter’s heart? How can you go from fully devoted follower to betrayer with only the space of a few moments in between?
You can rely on your own strength to carry you the distance in your own Christian walk.
You can place the weight of Christian living on your self and trust more in your abilities then Christ’s sufficiency.
The truth is, Jesus is sovereign over every detail and He knew all along that Peter would one day be a denier. But, He also knew that this breaking point and time of failure would make a way for the very greatest breakthrough.
Because sometimes we have to come to the very bottom and see what our sinful selves are capable of, and once we get to this place where it all begins to break, then we are in a place to turn our full reliance upon a trustworthy Savior.
Once we’ve come face to face with our ability to slip up and make an awful mess, then we are ready to quit pretending we can live life well and start leaning on the only One who never makes a mess of things.
He has to be living inside of us for us to be able to live the Christian life.
You and I aren’t going to get very far if we’re running on our own endurance and trying to please God with our sporadic acts of passion.
But there’s one more essential step that you and I can learn to follow in the life of Peter.
In Luke 22 verse 62 it says these words, “And he went out and wept bitterly.”
Peter grieved His sin, and his grief paved the way to freedom.
His remorse and broken heart is what brought the greatest light in.
When we have a slip up moment, we like to deny, we like to hide, and we like to move on as if it never happened, and each time that we do we miss out on the greatest joy-we miss out on our own redemption.
Our repentance is what transforms us and makes us more like Christ. Our brokenness is what allows Him to work within our lives. Our sorrow makes a way for Him to redeem it all in grace.
If you skip over the step of grieving your own sin, you skip out on breathing in His real and truest love.
Now here’s my favorite part of the story of Peter. His awful act of denial isn’t the end.
In our human minds we’d count on the fact that this man who denied his Savior has no purpose in the work of others salvation, but friends this is the beauty of grace on display. Because In John 21 we read as Jesus gently gives the commission for Peter to “feed His lambs”.
Peter is not only forgiven.
His mistake is not only forgotten, but now he is invited to be a part of the rescuers.
He is entrusted with the greatest news of all time. Jesus decides right then and there that Peter is a chosen vessel to proclaim His everlasting truth.
Jesus could entrust this great call to Peter because He knew that Peter had gained a heart that would humbly obey and humbly rely upon His Savior.
He knew that Peter understood the fullness of God’s grace. He knew that Peter knew what forgiveness tasted like, and this is the God that you and I follow.
Peter’s story breathes hope into every life, because our Savior is alive and doing the work of our redemption.