What a relief, it is the Master! Peter thought. Everyone on the boat thought it was a ghost they saw walking towards them on the water, but he knew better. He knew it could only be Jesus.
“Lord, if that is you tell me to come out to you on the water.”
“Come!” Jesus said.
A chill ran through Peter’s spine. Jesus was telling him to walk out to him on the water! Peter was aware of the other disciples shocked silence as he swung his leg over the side of the rocking boat.
No problem! He thought. He was sure of all the disciples; he was the one with the deepest connection and the strongest bond! He would even die for Jesus!
After all, hadn’t it been only his name Jesus had changed from Simon to Peter. Solid-as-rock-Peter. And hadn’t he been the one that correctly declared that Jesus was the Messiah, The Son of the Living God; when Jesus asked him who he thought Jesus was?
His eyes on Jesus he took a few steps, like a toddler takes to go across the room to the arms of his waiting father. He was doing it; he was walking on the water!
After another few steps, the wind-tossed sloshing waves felt a bit too real. Fear gripped him. A sense of insanity penetrated the core of his being. What am I doing? A person can’t walk on water! The Master, yes of course, He can do anything. I have seen Him heal the sick, give sight to the blind, raise the dead, but that’s the Master!
Peter began sinking. I will drown, he thought. “Lord save me!” he yelled out. Immediately he felt himself being pulled up as Jesus grabbed his hand.
“You of little faith,” Jesus said, “why did you doubt?”
Shame washed over him. He felt stupid for ever leaving the safety of the boat. What was he thinking to begin with? He had never been much of a swimmer. Why do I always have to be the one to open my big, fat mouth or act rashly? Peter chided himself as he sat quietly in the boat.
You can find this story in Matthew 14:28-29. (I took a bit of poetic license and added my version of Peter’s thoughts to the story)
Out of all the disciples, Peter was the one Jesus often needed to chastise and rein-in.
Peter rebukes Jesus: Mark 8-31-33 And He (Jesus) began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He spoke this word openly.
Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Another time, Jesus scolds Peter. Luke 22:31 The Lord said, “Simon, Simon, Indeed, Satan has asked for you that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
Peter refuses to have Jesus wash his feet. John 13:3-9 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
Peter reacts rashly when Jesus is arrested: John 18:10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (Jesus then put the ear back on and healed the servant)
Jesus’ prediction comes true and Peter denies Him after His arrest. Luke 22:56-62 And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.”
But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”
And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.”
But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”
Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”
But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!”
Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
Paul also rebukes Peter, this time for being two-faced. Galatians 2:11-14 (Paul speaking) “Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, ‘“If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?'”
Peter repeatedly stuck his foot in his mouth. He behaved rashly and impulsively, yet still, Jesus chose Him to lead the other disciples.
Act first, think later. Yep, I have been guilty of that…
Way too many times! Thank goodness the only water I ever tried to walk on was frozen solid.
Are you a Peter? Always so eager to do things right, but end up embarrassing yourself or stabbing yourself in the back with your own words or haste? Been there?
There is hope. Here are a few wise words to live by.
James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.
Proverbs 13: 16 Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool lays open his folly.
Proverbs 29:20 Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
It has taken a good part of a lifetime for this to truly sink in, but I still need to work on this!
Found image on Facebook.
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2013 ©http://hiseyeisonthissparrow.com.