Hello Hello Beautiful People! I hope everyone is having a fantastic week! Okay, I am not going to lie to y’all, I am absolutely giddy to write this post. As I was preparing and being prepared to start this blog, one thing I realized was that I had a tendency to think about Biblical characters as if they were almost fictional people. Now don’t misunderstand me here, part of me knew that they were real, legitimate people but since I am reading about them on paper rather than seeing them face-to-face, it was hard for me to picture them as real life human beings rather than names on a page. Therefore, as I began to study these various characters it really hit me hard how relatable these people are. Thus with that being said, every now and then we will study different characters from the Bible to show how applicable their life scenarios actually are compared to ours. With that being said, lets get the show on the road!So the very first person that I would like for us to learn about is Simon Peter. He is one who has a very special place in my heart, and his story is one of redemption and a beautiful example of God’s grace bestowed on us. When we first meet Peter, he was a mere fisherman that Jesus told, “Come follow me” (Mark 1: 17). As we see him and his walk with Jesus journey on, some very distinct personality characteristics are made known. In my Bible, it has a personal profile on all of the charaters in the Bible and his says that he has a tendency to be very impulsive, rash, and he tended to speak without thinking. As we look at his story during the time of Jesus’ trial, these weaknesses become really prevalent, for he is the disciple Jesus told would deny “Him three times before the rooster crows” (Luke 22: 34).
You know, when we hear this story, I feel as if we are so quick to judge Peter for his actions. I know that there is this stigma surrounding Peter in the church community because of this mistake that he made, but if I am going to be honest if I was in his situation I don’t think I would handle the situation much better than he would. You see, it is evident that before Jesus was ressurected that Peter didn’t fully understand who Jesus was and what he set out to do. It is also evident that when fear striked his heart, he naturally let his weaknesses and fear, rather than his faith, control his thoughts and actions. When we look at the context of the situation, there was a lot of political strain between the Jews and the Romans at the time. The Romans had taken over Jewish land and that is why the Pontious Pilate is the one of the main people to interrogate Jesus. The Jews who had not followed Jesus were so hard-hearted and looking for their Messiah to be a warrior who would end their physical oppression, not their everlasting, spiritual oppression. That is why a lot of them missed the point of Jesus’ message and didn’t believe He was the Messiah.
When we know this and look back at Peter’s actions, I begin to see why he acted the way he did. I am not saying this was the right move, but what is so beautiful is how we are able to see God’s grace and redemption be poured over all over one soul who needed it most. Let’s take a look at John 21: 15-19:
Jesus Reinstates Peter
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Now, I could go on and on and discuss this scene that took place between Jesus and Peter, but the main thing I love about this is Jesus forgave Peter for his actions and He still called him to become a disciple to all peoples for Jesus. And you know what? He did it. In the same personal profile that I discussed above it talks about his strengths and accomplishments, and did you know that he became “the recognized leader among Jesus’ disciples– one of the inner group of three?” Or that he was the “first great voice of the gospel during and after the Pentecost in Acts chapter 2?” Or that he “probably knew Mark and gave him the information for the Gospel of Mark?” That is so amazing to me and so humbling. When I hear this, my little heart rejoices, for there are times where I struggle with doubt, I tend to be impulsive, and there are times where it seems like I don’t think I could come back from this mistake I just made. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter what I think, for it is evident that Jesus is still in the redemption business and His grace and mercy will cover and help me despite my shortcomings. And the best part? He still has a great plan to use us despite these shortcomings.
All right I have one more story I would love to discuss with y’all before our time together is up. I want to give a brief amount of context before we dive in so here goes: during the time of Jesus’ life here on earth, it is pretty clear that he wanted the Gospel and the Good News to go out to all of the peoples of the earth. This is something the disciples didn’t understand in full, for they thought this good news was for the Jews only.
Jesus intervenes really quickly to show this in Acts chapter 10. When this story takes place, this is after Jesus’ ascent back into heaven and after His ressurection. To sum the story up, there was a man named Cornelius that was a Roman centurion that “was devout and God-fearing. He gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” This man was not a Jew, and this is when the story gets interesting. One day around three in the afternoon, he saw a vision and saw an “Angel of the Lord” who called him by name.
He was terrified but he cried “What is it, Lord?” The angel told him, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner whose house is by the sea.” (v. 4-6) Cornelius did just so, and he sent two servants on their way to find Peter.
The following day, Peter went to the roof of the building to pray. It says that he became hungry and then he fell into a trance where he saw a vision from the Lord. The point of the vision was to get Peter to understand that the Gentiles (aka non-Jews) are just as deserving of the Good News as the Jews were. When the vision went away, the two servants just so happened to be at the gate of Simon the tanner’s house. “While [Peter] was still thinking of the vision, the Spirit said to him “Simon three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them for I have sent them.'” So long story short, Peter goes with the men and he ends up baptizing them and the Cornelius, his family, and his servants were all saved.
Isn’t that amazing? Now I summarized a lot of that story, so I strongly encouage y’all to go read it. It is not a long chapter, but it is a really good one! It is so cool that God used Peter to be one of the first disciples since Jesus to reach the Gentile people. This is one of the first accounts in the book of Acts that a Gentile was saved. And did you know that if you are not of Jewish descent, that you are a Gentile? This blows my mind because if it were not for Peter obeying God and fullfilling his calling on His life, who knows what would have happened to the Gentile people.
Peter’s story is one of redemption. He proves over and over again that he is very passionate about his love for Jesus once he finally understood who Jesus was. As a matter of fact, he is the disciple who was crucified upside down because he didn’t feel worthy of dying the same way his Savior died. Now as we read this, it is mind blowing, for the Peter we know who denies Jesus three times obviously is not the same Peter we meet in Acts or who takes the cross upside down. This is a reminder to us all that God can and will change us, use us, save us, and redeem us. He loves us all and he wants us to do great things in His name. He can and will change our hearts and work despite our flaws, and that my friends is such beautiful and encouraging thought.
So this week I want y’all to keep this story of Peter in the back of y’all’s minds and be encouraged and reminded of what God can do. I love you all so so much, and I am praying for y’all! Have a great week and God bless!