Taking Risk for God

We will not accomplish anything for God when we do not try anything.  This world celebrates the successful, but Jesus looks at the person who dares to try.  The surest way to never to fail as a Christian is to never attempt great things for God. 

The world defines Peter by his failure.  He is the one who denied Jesus.  Jesus himself predicted Peter’s denial.  But there was something about Peter that caused Jesus to say, “once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32). The one who will fail is the one chosen to strengthen others beyond his own failure.

The foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of man (1 Cor 1:25). We look to leaders who have never fallen.  Jesus looks to men who would take risk for him — even if they fail. But there will be a redemption with their failure.  They will grow much more than those who did not try.  They will know what it means to push the envelop of their faith, and not live in spiritual mediocrity because they are afraid to fail.

There is a reason why the blandest people seem to lead churches.  People choose those who never fail, even if it is because they never try.

Yes, Jesus chose Peter despite his failure. But why did he choose Peter?  Is it not because he was the boldest?

We remember Peter denied Jesus three times.  But we forget the other disciples fled.  Only Peter and John were there when they tried Jesus.  The other disciples were not around to deny Jesus. John was never placed in that predicament.

Peter followed Jesus from the front.  He had that special turn of character that did not depend on the actions of others. He was willing to take spiritual risk. While the other disciples followed Jesus, they often looked to Peter and followed Peter following Jesus — and then sometimes not — as at the trial of Jesus.

Christians today look for two types of leaders: those who are bland and if they are bold, they must not have failed in any dramatic way.  Christians can live with non-performance among their leaders, but cannot live with failure.  Jesus cannot tolerate a lukewarm church, but he chose a man who would try even when his spiritual strength is not yet equal to his task. 

When Peter denied Jesus, Jesus did not reprimand him; he only looked at Peter in love. Jesus chose the only disciple who denied him to lead the others to confess him. What mystery of grace and power in Jesus our Lord!


Apostle Peter – Part 1

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Peter was probably the oldest of Jesus’ disciples.  This led to a consistent portrait of Peter as an old man. In some instances, as a very old man. The artists seem to forget that he was young once!

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When Jesus began his ministry, Jesus was about 32/3 years old.  It is likely that Peter was not much older (if indeed he was older) than Jesus.  At the time when Jesus walked the earth, we should expect Peter to be no older than his mid-thirties.

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The representation of Peter in “The Passion of the Christ” is closer to the age of Peter at that time.  It may still be a little too old, but that depends on how quickly an individual ages.

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When Peter first met Jesus, he was living in Bethsaida.  Not long after, he moved to Capernaum.

Peter was married.  We do not have the name of his wife in the Bible. We also do not know if they had children. One possible reason for this silence is to protect them during this time when persecution, or the threat of persecution, was ever present.

Peter’s ministry started with the Jews, but it very quickly included Gentiles.  He was originally based in Jerusalem, but eventually went to Rome where he served a significant length of time.

While in Rome, he bore witness for Jesus.  Mark was this companion assistant and he recorded Peter’s account of Jesus.  This eventually became the Gospel according to Mark.  Mark’s Gospel is really Peter’s portrait of Jesus Christ.  But in it, we also find Peter’s portrait of himself.  It is a humble representation of his own foibles and Jesus’ greatness.

Matthew and Luke used Peter’s (Mark’s) account as their framework.  John did not.  So John’s representation of Peter is much kinder than Peter’s representation of himself.

Two things stand out in the early church. The individual who did wrong is most likely the one who made it public.  The other Christians represented the failure more kindly than the person who failed.

This stands in contrast to the thinking of the world, which has also crept into the church.  The wrong-doer denies fault or minimizes it, and third-parties, including Christians, can be vicious in their attacking the brother who has fallen.

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