Y’all wanna know something about little tween Rachel? I had a major crush on the apostle Peter. Not in the like, “OMG he’s so HOTT!” way because, hellooooo he’s in the Bible y’all. And that’s weird. (Although, I liked to think he was kind of dreamy in an old-school, hard-workin fisherman kind-of-way. BUT I DIGRESS.) It was more that I just loved the way he lived. He was such a passionate, somewhat surly, and completely unlikely candidate to be the cornerstone of the Christian church (Matt. 16:18).
If anyone had me laughing out loud when I read the Bible, it was Peter. He was just sort of crazy enough for me to be like, “Man. He really believed all of this!” When Peter got it right he totally NAILED IT. He was all in, guns-blazing (no Scripture reference for this one), Holy-Spirit filled sermon-preaching (Acts 2:14-41), Messiah-proclaiming (Luke 9:20) champion. And when he got it wrong? – You guys. DISASTER. It’s like his favorite conversation flavor was “Foot In Mouth.” Jesus even referred to him as Satan (Matt. 16:23) at one point, because he was just so terribly NOT getting it. Ouch. And also? – THANK YOU, PETER. I have my moments too when I tell God He has to do A-B-C according to my understanding of what He’s trying to accomplish and it usually leads to similar rebukes: “I’m God, Rachel. You are staring at a dot while I am crafting a masterpiece for eternity. SIT. DOWN.”
Sigh. I’ve pulled a Peter a thousand times. I have this feeling that he and I would have been BFF’s.
I’m reading through the gospel of Luke right now because John and I had this super holy game-plan of reading all these different books of the Bible throughout the year. I know, I know. Could we BE any more sanctified? I was supposed to read Luke in July but IT’S WHATEVER.
Here’s the background on the story: Up until this point, Jesus had basically encountered a bunch of people wanting Him to do something for them, “Help me! Heal me!” etc. And He did. Time and time again he just helped and healed and taught and prayed. Rinse, repeat. Town after town. Then Jesus arrives at the lake of Gennesaret where Peter and his buddies are coming back to shore from a night of terrible fishing. As in: they had caught nothing. Nada.
Jesus walks up to Peter and says, “Put your nets in the water.” Peter replies, “Look. We’ve been fishing all night. This is kiiiind of what we do for a living ok? Trust me. There’s nothing in there. But because you’re a Rabbi and people respect you and stuff. OK fine. Here goes nothing.”(Rachel Standard Version) He throws the nets in, and they become so full of fish that when they load them onto the boats, the boats start to sink. I MEAN. That’s a lot of fish!
Here’s where I fall in love with Peter: (v. 8): “But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
I read that this morning as I ate my pancakes and I just kept re-reading it. Over and over and over. For the first time in His recorded ministry, Jesus encounters a man who understands the holiness of God enough to understand that he (Peter) is so very very far from it. And this same guy, with his face in the dirt before Jesus, was to become one of Jesus’ first disciples. Not because he was qualified or respected or influential or even all that intelligent (sorry, bro), but because he saw his need and he knew how to respond to his Savior. Only a few sentences later we find out that Jesus tells Peter not to be afraid of Him because He is going to make Peter a fisher of men. Peter’s response? (v.11) – “they left everything and followed him.” ALL. IN.
Peter began his walk with Jesus with his face in the dirt. Jesus lifted him up, assured him of his deep love for him, and put Peter to work. They didn’t have a harmonious, seamless relationship marked by perfect obedience (at least on Peter’s part) but Peter knew who He was walking with. He knew who he was serving and that changed everything about him. Sure, he got lost and mixed-up and denied Jesus 3x right before Jesus was crucified (NOBODY’S PERFECT OK? WHY DO Y’ALL HAVE TO KEEP BRINGING THAT UP?! GEEZ!) but Peter lived out his days totally convinced that God is real, Jesus came as fully God/fully Man to die for all people and to eventually return and make everything right again. He LIVED that out til the day he was crucified upside down for living that out.
When I think about the cloud of witnesses that are cheering on all believers today (Hebrews 12:1), I like to think that Peter is in that mix and he’s like, “You go, girl. Keep after Him. This is the real deal. Don’t stay with your face in the dirt. Recognize that He is God but also recognize that He wants to use you. Get up. Keep running. It’s worth it.”
So, I wanna pull a Peter with my life. I am so thankful that his life is recorded in the Bible because it gives me hope that I can follow Jesus too and make it count. Even when I doubt and I get angry and I get distracted, I can pull a Peter – ALL IN, no looking back, picking myself up again and believing that this is all true, real, and worth it.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:8-9