by Kathy Lay
This Week’s Verse: John 6: 66-69, “At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, ‘Are you going to leave, too?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘Lord, to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life. We believe them, and we know you are the Holy One of God.’”(NLT)
When I was a kid, I would hear frustrated adults mutter under their breath, “Oh, for the love of Pete.” It was an expression equivalent to a negative “Oh great, now what?” or “Sheesh, you’ve got to be kidding me.”
But when I read this week’s verse, I grasped a new meaning of the phrase. You really do have to love Peter—the disciple who usually had the quick response, the guy whose passionate declarations sometimes escaped his mouth before undergoing the process of thoughtful evaluation. But when Peter was right, he was right. And in this verse we see him being as right as right can be.
Peter knew—and I believe he knew it in every fiber of his being, not just in his head—that this man before him was the real deal. The ONLY deal, for him. Jesus had been teaching some hard truths that were offending some of his followers. Some were so offended they left never to follow Jesus again. But not the Twelve. Look at how the Amplified Bible records Peter’s response to Jesus asking the disciples if they were leaving too:
Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words (the message) of eternal life. And we have learned to believe and trust, and [more] we have come to know [surely] that You are the Holy One of God, the Christ (the Anointed One), the Son of the living God.”
Can’t you just sense Peter’s 100% sold-out-to-Christ faith? He knew there was nothing else worth following.
His zeal led him to do things like walk out into high waves to his Lord. Even though he started to sink, he knew where to turn for help: “’Save me, Lord!’ he shouted.” (Matt. 14:30, NLT). And save him the Lord did.
When Jesus was predicting his own death, Peter’s loyalty and devotion prompted him to say, “'Heaven forbid, Lord…This will never happened to you!” But this time his passion was misdirected, getting this back from Jesus: "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men"(Matt.16:23, NIV). Apparently this rebuke only strengthened Peter’s love for Jesus though, because six days later at the transfiguration, Peter’s fervor led him to blurt out “’Lord, this is wonderful! If you want me to, I’ll make three shrines, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah!” (Matt. 17:4, NLT).
See, Peter’s unabashed trust and dedication enabled him to take even the hard truths. I want to be THAT in love with Jesus.
Oh, Lord…for the love—the fleshy, imperfect but nonetheless COMPLETE—love of Pete. Amen.
Have you ever made a fool of yourself on behalf of Jesus? He built the church on a man who was willing to take that risk. Consider an area where you’ve been playing it safe and then tackle it with the fervent trust of Simon Peter.
Luke 22:31-34, "Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I've prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start." Peter said, "Master, I'm ready for anything with you. I'd go to jail for you. I'd die for you!" Jesus said, "I'm sorry to have to tell you this, Peter, but before the rooster crows you will have three times denied that you know me." (MSG)
John 21:15-17, “When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?'
'Yes, Lord,' he said, 'you know that I love you.'
Jesus said, 'Feed my lambs.'
Again Jesus said, 'Simon son of John, do you truly love me?'
He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.'
Jesus said, 'Take care of my sheep.'
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.'"
Matthew 16:18, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (NIV)