Last weekend twenty-five guys from Hope ventured down to Beaver Lake (Rodgers, Arkansas) for the annual Men’s Weekend. A few of us fished on a boat, some hiked along trails or explored some caves, while others visited a Civil War battlefield. I believe a few naps took place as well. Throughout our time together, we all found out that we had much in common with each other and a lot in common with a certain character in the Bible… Peter. Yes, the same Peter who wrote the book 1 Peter we are walking through together as a Hope body. So, why did this man’s story resonate so well with each of us? Here are a few bite-size takeaways:
- Peter often spoke quickly without thinking.
- Peter wanted to lead, but didn’t always do the right thing.
- Peter followed Jesus, but was confused with how events played out (They didn’t go according to Peter’s plan).
For those reasons and others, we easily saw ourselves in the stories we studied from the life of Peter. But perhaps more impactful than merely identifying with someone in the Bible, we discovered the Lord Jesus Christ’s deep mercy and grace toward this flawed man. Jesus gave this fisherman the name Peter, meaning Rock, when this man was anything but a solid rock. He spoke identity into him even when he was not deserving of it. Jesus washed this guy’s feet while knowing Peter was going to deny him. Jesus corrected him when he needed correcting as well as affirming him when Peter was headed in the right direction.
Peter thought he was signing up to serve a conquering, victorious king who would overthrow governments and other worldly powers (That is why he cut off a guy’s ear when Jesus’ accusers came to capture him). But what Peter might not have comprehended at that moment is that the scope of this king’s reign and power went well beyond flesh and blood. This king would defeat death and rise victorious over sin. No sword or any other king could win those battles. But it was the very thing Peter needed and that all of us need.
It can be a humbling experience to be reminded that we are like Peter. But at the same time, it is so powerful to see how Jesus loves, cares for and instructs us, ultimately accomplishing victory over sin and death on our behalf.
I’m excited to continue digging into Peter’s letter throughout this summer together, discovering all the lessons this flawed/loved/forgiven/solid rock apostle has passed along!