Monday, July 10, 2017
My friend, Peter
I think I may have mentioned it before, but I love, love the story of Simon Peter. I mean, I identify with him in many ways. Do you, too?
Let me explain . . .
Many of his character traits read like a list from my Bible study notes where I'm being brutally honest, as grandma would say, about myself! On the positive side, Simon was likable, outgoing, enthusiastic, and transparent. As a bit more of an introvert, the outgoing part is sometimes tiring for me, but I am enthusiastic about my passions (and those of others) and I'm really transparent. Easy to tell what I think and where I stand! His most important characteristic, and the one that I share most with him, was his love for Christ.
On the negative side, well, let's not say negative....on the troublesome side, he was impulsive, and even strong-willed. Those are two things that I have had to struggle with for years. I see you nodding; you, too? (Grin) I have a decided knack for saying the wrong thing sometimes. As a matter of fact, I'm a champion at it. And that makes me just love Simon Peter.
There is such a contrast in Simon and then later when he was called Peter. I'd like to study his life, and then his writings, for a while, now that we have finished our "Women of the Bible" series.
I hope that sounds good to you!
Let's dive in!
Even though Jesus said he was going to be a "rock," Simon didn't start out that way. Before the Spirit got hold of him and changed him, he often spoke or acted in ways that leave us shaking our heads, or worse, even cringing! Just like me at a business networking event (exhausting!), Simon showed some insecurity in spite of outward confidence. He covered it well.
And so impulsive! Have you ever been feeling under the weather, and felt like you didn't really want to get out of bed, much less have guests in the house? Well, Simon Peter brought home the Master and some friends, when his mom-in-law was sick! He pulled out a sword and clipped off the ear of the high priest's servant in the Garden! And when he saw Jesus walking on the water, he wanted to share the experience.
I have to admit, to my shame, that I can point to times when I wasn't a good witness for Jesus. In fact, I was cowardly. Simon Peter denied Jesus three times -- I cannot imagine the depths of despair when his eyes met Christ's, right after that.
Here's another thing . . . Simon Peter was outspoken. Now, that can be good and bad! I share this tendency with my friend, Peter, for there are many times that I have gotten myself into a peck of trouble by blurting out something -- without thinking it through before my mouth opened. He said the right thing when Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" and Simon immediately said, "you are the Christ!...." But wait a minute....remember another time, when Jesus was describing the events that would lead up to His death, and Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him (emphasis mine). Oh my. Not good. Outspoken, presumptuous, and foolish. Been there, done that, too. Apparently Simon Peter and I shared that issue, too, in that we are able to go from the "sublime to the ridiculous" (quoting my grandma again) in one short moment....
Here is the problem....and we'll discuss this more this week....it's a short trip from relying on the Spirit to relying on human reasoning. And it gets us in trouble every time!
Simon Peter also had a pride problem: Jesus told His disciples that all of them would stumble and "be scattered." But Peter said, in essence, "Not me!" He was sincere, but he didn't know his own weaknesses.
He also showed some impatience: at the transfiguration of Christ, when Moses and Elijah appeared, Simon Peter interrupted their conversation -- hey, no one invited you to speak, fella! -- and then offered his human advice.....
My friend, Peter.
It's as if I were there, no?
Do you find yourself identifying with Simon Peter?
I hope that this week's study, and the weeks to follow, will bless and instruct all of us!