Peter’s Story – Our Story

In the weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, we’re doing a lot of thinking about Peter and his relationship with Jesus. Peter—the poster boy for the extremes of faith and doubt. Faith enough to drop his fishing nets and follow Jesus. Doubt enough to sink into the stormy sea when Jesus invites him to walk on water. Faith enough to confess Jesus as Messiah and Lord. Doubt enough to deny he even knew Jesus when Jesus needed him the most. Can you relate to Peter? How easy it is to sing “Trust and Obey” when standing in a sanctuary surrounded by Christians. How hard it is to live out the words of that song when surrounded at work or college or home by skeptics. We’ve all got at least a bit of Peter in us. His faith story is in many ways our faith story as we head toward the cross and the resurrection. Peter’s relationship with Jesus (and the relationships of all the other disciples) was limited in the same way as all human relationships are limited—by time and space. Jesus often went away to pray in lonely places. He sometimes left his disciples to their fishing while he took care of other matters. Peter, (who knew that John the Baptist was beheaded for his preaching) knew deep down that there was the very real possibility that Jesus might meet a similar fate. He saw and heard the grumblings of the religious authorities. He felt the tenuous nature of his Master’s ministry. This makes Peter’s faith in Jesus before the resurrection all the more remarkable because he knew the very human Jesus and it was this Jesus he was asked to place his faith in. Yes, Jesus was a miracle-worker. Yes, he shared God’s truth in startling ways. Yes, he confounded the teachers of the law and stood toe to toe with the religious authorities. But it must have been difficult at times for Peter to see past the humanity of Jesus and perceive the extent of his divinity— fully human while fully God. We, however, live in a post-resurrection world. After the resurrection, Peter’s faith takes on a super-human flavor. He has seen the empty tomb; he has witnessed the risen Christ, he has been overwhelmed by the Spirit of Pentecost. Peter’s faith expands exponentially as Jesus becomes his constant companion. He lives in Peter’s heart and he need never fear again as he had on the waters of the Galilee. Rather than cowering before the taunts of others who accuse Peter of being a friend of Jesus, Peter stands before hostile councils and massive crowds of unbelievers and proclaims the gospel of his Lord. We live in a post-resurrection world where Jesus is with us always. Where he promises to never leave us alone. Where we have been buried with him in baptism and raised to a new life, living by faith and not sight. As we approach Easter Sunday, embrace this good news—Jesus has stormed and conquered the very gates of hell and invites us to live in the reality of God’s eternal Kingdom!