Summary: How did Peter go from being the guy who declared "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God" to being the guy who said "Nope! I don't know the man?"
OPEN: There's a famous poem named “Footprints” that you can find on posters, paintings and even small cards that people will put in the Bibles. It has a powerful message of hope and comfort, and it goes like this:
“One night I dreamed a dream. As I was walking along the beach with my Lord, across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord. After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints. This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
‘Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You'd walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.’
He whispered, ‘My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.’”
That is a very comforting poem. The idea that Jesus walks beside us every step of our lives. That is so cool!
But there’s another view of this idea that I find interesting (we put a meme on the screen that read) “Where you see one set of footprints is where I carried you… And that long grove is where I dragged you kicking and screaming.”
As we read about Peter this morning, he seems to be one of those guys that Jesus had to occasionally drag, kicking and screaming where God wanted him. You see, Peter was a hard-headed, Type A kind of personality. He liked being in charge. He liked being in control. In fact, at one point Jesus had to rebuke him saying: “Get thee behind me Satan” because Peter tried to take control of Jesus’ ministry.
The more WE look at Peter, the more we think - how difficult a man this guy must have been to have around.
But then, the more JESUS looked at Peter, the more valuable Peter became because Jesus would often take people (like Peter) who the rest of the world would reject… and then Jesus would turn them into powerful tools to change the world.
Just to realize how important Peter was to Jesus it’s worthwhile to remember that whenever the 12 disciples are named in Scripture Peter’s name is ALWAYS first. On top of that, Peter was part of a very select group of men who were almost always with Jesus - Peter, James and John.
• When Jesus raised a little girl from the dead – “…He allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.” Mark 5:37
• When Jesus was on the Mt. Transfiguration – “… Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. Matthew 17:1
• And when Jesus was struggling in prayer at Gethsemane – “…He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled.” Mark 14:33
And EVEN among those 3 – Peter stood out. Peter was the only one who walked on water. Peter was the only one who proclaims “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Peter was the only one who Jesus gave a special nickname to (Simon – the rock)
Wherever Peter was… you could count on him being a leader and a major worker for Christ.
In fact, at the last Passover, Jesus said "You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee."
Peter answered him, "Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away"
Jesus said to him, "Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times."
Peter said to him, "Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!" And ALL THE DISCIPLES said the same. Matthew 26:31-35
Whenever Peter spoke it was if he spoke for all the rest of the 12. They looked to him as the natural leader and whatever he said – they chimed in with a “me too.” And Peter loved Jesus so much that he believed he’d even die for Him.