Summary: Last week we looked at Joshua and David. Joshua defeated Jericho but when he lost a battle to Ai his response was extreme. David was a man after God's own heart yet he committed adultery and had her husband killed. Today we'll look at Peter and see how he was just like us.
JUST LIKE US (part six)
Joshua was the successor to Moses. No one in the entire nation of Israel believed they could conquer Canaan except him and Caleb. When he was leading them into battle against Jericho, God told him to march around the city seven times and blow the trumpets and the wall would come down. It would take a lot of faith to believe God would do this but Joshua obeyed and it happened.
But when Achan disobeyed orders and took some of the sacred things that were supposed to be for God and kept them for himself, the Lord didn't give Israel success against Ai. Joshua's response was very dramatic and emotional. But God told him to get up. He showed him what the problem was and what to do to take care of it.
We can be like that. We can show courage in facing certain situations but then when we get blindsided by something we weren't expecting we can panic. But God will break in and show us what we need to do to take care of the problem.
David was a man after God's own heart yet there were times when he wasn't. He committed adultery with Uriah's wife Bathsheba and then had him killed. But God also said David would do everything God wanted him to. Surely these two things were not what God wanted him to do.
Though David did some things God didn't want him to do, he still did the things God did want him to do. Just like us-sometimes we do God's will and sometimes we don't. That doesn't mean it's okay or that we're hypocrites; it means we're human and we make mistakes.
Today we'll look at Peter.
1) Two steps forward and three steps down.
Peter was a mixed bag-of sorts-passionate yet wreck less-like when he cut off Malchus' ear when Jesus was being arrested. Loving Jesus yet rebuking him when he learned Jesus was going to suffer and die. Peter was fearless one moment and fearful the next-like when he walked on water.
Matt. 14:25-31, "During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Peter was the one who was willing to get out of the boat and walk across the water toward Jesus but then became overwhelmed by his surroundings and started to sink. Jesus asked him why he was afraid. We can be like that. We can face a challenge with courage but it can also be mixed with an amount of fear.
I'm sure Peter didn't just get out of the boat and start walking as if he was taking an afternoon stroll. Every step he took was probably nerve-racking for him. Yet for a while his courage was stronger than his fear. It's interesting that Jesus said he had little faith. If that was the case what did that say about the faith of the rest of the disciples who didn't get out of the boat?
I think Jesus' response to Peter wasn't so much a firm rebuke as it was meant to be corrective. "You could've made it. You didn't have to sink." Jesus would do the same to us. "Come on, you have the strength to overcome", or, "you can do anything through me so why did you doubt".
Not that Jesus never rebuked his disciples for their lack of faith but in this case I see it as more of an encouragement than a reprimand. We can get discouraged when we start out well but along the way we take our eyes of Jesus and start to doubt. We need to work on that but also take into consideration the positives-like the fact that at least we got out of the boat.
Did Peter's doubt show that he was double-minded? James 1:5-8, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."