Summary: Peter had a big turn-around between Mark 14 and his two epistles.
Peter’s Big Turn-Around
June 23, 2010
Peter is one of my favorite Bible characters because of his passionate love for the Lord. He was one of the men who ran to the empty tomb when everyone else thought it was nonsense (Mk. 24:11-12).
After the crucifixion, Jesus appeared to His disciples from the shore while they were out fishing. Once they realized it was Him, it was Peter who “threw himself into the sea” while everyone else was content to row (Jn. 21:7).
Peter cut off the man’s ear when they came to arrest Jesus (Jn. 18:10), he was the one who asked to stay on top of the mountain at the transfiguration (Lk. 9:33), and he was the one who refused to let Jesus wash his feet until Jesus said “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me;” Peter replied, “Then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head” (Jn. 13:8-9).
His faith and zeal were sometimes shallow and selfish and rash and a little ignorant, but there’s something about his childlike passion; he might not have always been the greatest theologian, but he loved Christ more than most theologians ever will.
I can identify with a man like him. I’m often wrong in my passion; I often miss the point, but I love Him and I’m willing to change.
This is probably the best part about Peter. He missed the point a lot of the time and he was often oblivious to the truth, but he didn’t stay that way. He went from being a poor dumb fisherman who loved the Lord to being a man God inspired to write Scripture and who helped lay the foundation of the early church.
He was never perfect, but he did have a big turn-around; he matured in his faith. Tonight I want to look at this turn-around with you:
Peter’s Big Turn-Around
We’ll use Mark’s account of Peter found in chapter fourteen and compare it with the two epistles Peter later wrote.
1. Peter Turned Around His Pride
And Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away, because it is written, 'I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP SHALL BE SCATTERED.' 28"But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee." 29But Peter said to Him, "Even though all may fall away, yet I will not." (Mark 14:27-29)
Notice that Jesus says they will fall away “because it is written.” Peter’s rejection is an argument against what is written. He says, “I don’t care what Scripture says, I’m not going to fall away.” This is pride.
GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. 6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time. (I Peter 5:5-6)
Now Peter isn’t trusting in his own abilities or faithfulness but in God’s sovereignty.
2. Peter Turned Around His Laziness
And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38"Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." 39Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. 41And He came the third time, and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? (Mark 14:37-41)
Isn’t it interesting that Simon Peter is singled out? James and John were also there, but Peter is named specifically in the rebuke. Perhaps it has something to do with the lesson Peter learns and later writes:
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8)
3. Peter Turned Around His Faithlessness
But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. (Mark 14:47)
Peter wasn’t willing to accept the cup Christ had to drink and he thought he could fight his way out. But Jesus had already told him what would happen. The problem was a lack of faith in the words he had heard.
Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; 23and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously. (I Peter 2:21-23)
4. Peter Turned Around His Worldliness
They led Jesus away to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes gathered together. 54Peter had followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the officers and warming himself at the fire. (Mark 14:53-54)