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Jeff Watkins
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Friday, April 18, 2003

First One Out of the Boat

Last night I was thinking about the character in the Bible I admired the most other than Christ. I think most people would say Paul, considering he was an amazing theologian and wrote alot of the New Testement. However, I think I admire Peter more than any other. I think part of it was the simple fact that he walked and talked with Jesus. They hung out pretty much all the time, laughed, cried, played practical jokes on the other disciples. ( could have happened!) Basically they were best friends.
I liked Peter because he was an ordinary man and he loved Jesus with everything he had in him. He was always with Jesus, and was always trying to do the right thing. He was gutsy. He was the only disciple who was ready to jump out of the boat on a stormy sea and run to Jesus. He was the only one who drew a sword to defend his Master when everyone else backed down. I admire that.

Peter always seemingly had good intentions, yet his best intentions sometimes ended up in horrible failures. He wanted to serve Christ with all of his heart, so much so that he actually challeged the prophecy of Christ. When Jesus told Peter that he would deny Christ, Peter lost it. He basically said there was no way that would ever happen. Peter would never do anything like that, he wasnt Judas. He could never betray his Lord. Oh but he did. Three times he did. It's hard to imagine the look on Jesus' face when He locked eyes with Peter after the rooster crowed. I would like to think Christ looked at him with all the love in the world, and thats the look that broke Peter's heart. I doubt any soul has cried harder any time in history than Peter did that night. Then with a tear stained face he made his way to Golgatha to be with his Lord during His crucifixion.

I am sure Peter's denial haunted him all of Friday, and he considered himself to be the worst failure to ever walk the earth. By the time Sunday came around and the women came to him and reported an empty tomb, Peter was a wreck I would imagine. You have to wonder what was in his mind as he ran to the tomb. Was Jesus really alive? Did someone steal Him? Of course the big question would be: Would Jesus forgive me? I think alot of us struggle with that question even today. We think God cannot forgive us for things we have done, and we let our guilt destroy us. We need to look at Peter, and learn the lessons that he learned.

Finally there is the moment when Jesus and Peter are reunited beside a fire. Everyone is tired and full from the fish, and there is Jesus and Peter sitting there, perhaps alone. I would like to think they were alone, and that Peter was nervous and ashamed about what he had done. He could have been sitting there bracing himself for the moment when Jesus would admonish him for his denial. Or maybe a nice " I told you so" was in order. The finally Jesus breaks the ice and says " Do you love Me?". I am sure Peter could have been knocked over with a feather right then. "Lord, you know I do", he said. "Then feed My sheep", Christ told him.
Jesus asked him this a total of three times, and each with the same response. In each time Peter resonded, I would like to think that when Christ said " Feed My sheep" that He was also saying " I forgive you Peter". Thats the amazing love of Christ, and a prime example of His forgiveness to us.

Peter was a flawed man, and the Bible records his many failures and shortcomings, and thats why I can relate. Peter and I would get along great. I could see us becoming good friends. He could introduce me to fishing and I could show him Star Wars. I like Peter because he is alot like me. I have failed so many times when it comes to serving Jesus, and yet He still forgives me and tries to teach me. He never gave up on me, just like He never abandoned Peter.

I hope that I will continue to grow, and learn from my failures as Peter did. This Easter weekend ( like every other weekend) I will be celebrating the risen Jesus, and contemplating how I can become a stronger man of God. His grace is amazing, and so is His love. Happy Easter to all our readers. May God bless you.

posted by Justin at 11:27 AM


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