I heard a sermon a few weeks ago, and I found myself relating to a character in the Bible more than I ever understood. I think that God included little details about the disciples in His stories so that future generations could understand that they were just people. Flawed but beautifully and wonderfully made by a Savior. I see myself so much in Simon Peter, and here’s why.
If you’ve known me for half a second, then you know that I am impulsive. My emotions are strong, and I act on them before my brain gets involved. This can either be a really good thing or a painfully bad one, with no in-between. When Jesus revealed himself to the disciples after the crucifixion, he showed up on the shore while they were fishing. When Simon Peter realized who was standing on the shore, he immediately jumped into the water. Now why would God add that short sentence, the tiniest detail, into a story about the resurrection? I think he was trying to show us Peter’s character. He wasn’t thinking of the water, or how far it was to shore, or if he could just take the boat in… He saw Jesus and that was it. How I wish I loved like that. But I think that what God revealed to me through this, is that I can be. I always try to tame myself for people. I view my lack of filter as purely a negative, devaluing characteristic. When I say something thats not acceptable, or I do something I should have thought out, I am instantly devastated. Critiquing my every move and serving as my own worst enemy. I have allowed Satan to turn my impulsiveness into a “flaw,” and use it to make me feel unworthy or unacceptable to the world. But, Jesus loved Simon Peter, impulsivity and all. It is no accident that I have been getting in trouble for talking too much for as far back as I can remember (Probably since I could talk.) So, instead of obsessively trying to apologize and change myself, what if I just embraced it? What if all of us just viewed ourselves as Jesus sees us, through the lens of mercy and grace?
This brings me to another similarity. Peter denied Jesus three times. He knew it was going to happen, even knew how many times, and did it anyways. When I read that, I find myself judging Simon Peter. I think, “You were in the presence of Jesus Christ and you denied Him? Who would do that? How could you?” And then something dawned on me. I do it all the time. In many instances, if you were to meet me right then, you wouldn’t know I was a Christian. You wouldn’t see Jesus in my words or actions. So in essence, I deny my Savior. But thats not where the story ends. Jesus, knowing that Peter was riddled with guilt and anger towards himself, forgives him. And not in a way that allowed Peter to dwell on his sin and pity himself. No, Jesus simply asks Peter if he loves him, and tells him to “Feed my Sheep.” He never sits Peter down, says he forgives him, and has a deep heart to heart with him. That wasn’t the point. It wasn’t about the sin, it was about the forgiveness, and where Peter needed to go from there. He needed to pick himself up, and spread the love of Jesus throughout the world. No time to maintain the regrets that haunted him. How interesting of a thought. We as humans live with shame and regret every single day. Some of us so much that its a struggle to get out of bed. Why? You were made to be loved and to spread love. Not to be punished and shamed. So even though I AM working to let my life point others to Jesus, messing up doesn’t put me five steps backwards. It pushes me forwards, to learn from my mistake and start each day NEW. How encouraging!
Lastly, when Jesus is telling Peter to follow him, no matter what, and to feed his sheep, Peter looks back and notices John. “What about him?” he says. I have to laugh at how often I do that. Jesus is trying to mold me and use me, and I’m worried about the lives of others. Her life on Instagram looks better than mine. That girl probably never has too much to drink. He always mirrors God. She never says the wrong thing. And the list goes on. But what Jesus says to Peter should ring true in my own life. “What is it to you what I want to do with John? Follow me.” My life will never look like anyone else. Thats okay. Because the picture God is painting of my life will be just as glorifying to him. We weren’t made to be robots, each mimicking another. So yeah, I probably will continue to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. But I’m funny sometimes! And I mean well most of the time. And I feel confident that my impulsiveness is endearing to the only One who matters. I can’t please the world, because I wasn’t made for this world. This is not our home. God taught me about Simon Peter to teach me about myself. To show me that there is a plan for my life, and the sooner I stop giving Satan foot holes in my heart, the sooner I can become the hands and feet of Jesus. Amen!