Summary: This message came from a series I did entitled "Witnesses", focusing on those who were eyewitnesses of Christ. Each message was prefaced with a short dramatic monologue, which is included.
Man, am I confused right now. They say, “when the goin’ gets tough, the tough…go fishin’.” Well, that’s where I am; I been fishin’ since I was 2 years old, me and Andrew; it’s the only life we ever knew…’til like three years ago.
Pete’s the name; means “rock”. Yeah, that’s me, okay, “steady as a rock”…what a joke. More like a pebble, you know, maybe a little speck of gravel. I followed Jesus for, like, three years, man; Jesus takes me into His inner circle, right, like one of the guys He really let in on some stuff. I sure don’t know why He did that; I messed up so many times I quit countin’. But He never gave up on me, at least not yet, but I don’t know ‘bout this time, man, I just don’t know.
See, we go to Jerusalem with Him, thinkin’ that this was it, you know, like His coronation or somethin’. I mean, we was walkin’ along, talkin’ about how good it was goin’ to be, Jesus reignin’ on the throne in Jerusalem and us bein’ like his helpers, but things sure didn’t turn out like we planned, man, they sure didn’t turn out like we thought they would. He got Himself crucified, man, and stupid me, instead of fightin’ for Him, man, I tell people I don’t even know who He is…start cussin’ and stuff and tellin’ people I don’t run with Him. I mean, I said some stupid things in my time, but…
Now Jesus is dead and we don’t know what to do. And I’m a traitor, man, like a coward; yesterday, I couldn’t even stand up to a little girl and tell her I was with Jesus.
Ya’ever wonder if, maybe, you’ve like crossed a line or somethin’, like you’ve done so much…stuff…that you can’t ever be forgiven? That’s me, man, that’s where I am right now. And it ain’t too good, let me tell you…it ain’t too good.
Look, I gotta go. Maybe the fish will take my mind off things…
April 27, 2003
Few characters in the New Testament arouse such empathy as Peter. We see in Simon Peter a follower of Jesus in all of his humanness, soaring to great heights at one moment and wallowing in the gutter the next. Consider
I. What Peter did
A. Followed closely
Peter was one of the “inner three”, along with James and John the disciples whom Jesus took with Him on certain occasions when the rest of the disciples were left behind. Only these three were there to witness the raising of Jairus’ daughter from death. Only these three were there at the Transfiguration of Christ, as the Shekinah glory surrounded Him on the mountain. Peter was privy to Jesus’ identity in a way few others were. And my, when Peter shined, didn’t he shine?
B. Faith-fully identified Jesus
Jesus asked the disciples, as is recorded in Mark 8, “who are people saying that I am?” And different answers were given. But then Jesus put the question to the disciples, “but who do you say that I am?” It was Peter who identified Jesus, saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus praised him, telling him that he hadn’t understood this except as God had revealed it to him. Christ went on to establish the foundation of the church, which incidentally was not Peter (as no doubt some of you have been taught). There is a play on words here, for Peter means “little rock”, while the word Jesus uses when He says, “On this rock, I will build my church” is the word for a large boulder. It is not on the little rock of Peter, but on the solid rock of the revelation of God in Christ that the church is built. He is Himself the Cornerstone, as He is God revealed in the flesh, the Savior of the world. But Peter’s response was one of incredible insight and faith, insight and faith given to Him only by God.
C. Fearfully failed
When Peter shined, he shined bright, but when he failed, he failed miserably, didn’t he? Immediately on the heels of Mark’s recording of Peter’s wonderful confession of faith, we read this, as the NLT records it:
31”Then Jesus began to tell them that he, the Son of Man, would suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the leaders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, and three days later he would rise again. 32As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and told him he shouldn’t say things like that.
33Jesus turned and looked at his disciples and then said to Peter very sternly, "Get away from me, Satan! You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s."