Often times I find myself in hills and valleys and sometimes both in the course of a day given that we live and work in a world that is fading. Sometimes when I catch myself feeling low and or isolated I start to think on things that are Kingdom minded. So many times we read about self help books and ways to make ourselves better. Somewhere along the line I think we miss the true element of Christianity - It is all about Jesus! He is the way, the truth and the life and that no man can come to the Father but through Him. For all have sinned and come short...
I used to be very annoyed about the Apostle Peter. I mean, seriously, he walked with Jesus and was a trusted friend. I mean, after all, Jesus said to him, "Peter, upon this Rock, I will build my church." Then I start looking through the Bible and realize that all men are sinful and come short of the glory of God. Let's take a look at Peter's life:
THE GOOD: Mark 8:27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”
THE BAD: Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man mustsuffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
THE UGLY: Mark 14:26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same." Then you know the rest of the story...he did exactly as Jesus predicted.
THE REDEMPTION & HOPE OF JESUS:
English Standard Version (ESV)
Peter's Sermon at Pentecost
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.[a] 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants[b] and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus,[c] delivered up according tothe definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain thatGod has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
What I find interesting here is that even after our most ugliest moments in life, when we have the love of Jesus and the salvation and redemption that only comes from him, then great things can still happen to all of us. That is, when we submit and obey to God's will in our life, then He will use us for his kingdom purpose(s).
Now for the rest of the story: Peter's life was good, bad and ugly. But he had at least one moment (and many more as he grew in wisdom, humility and obedience). He was instrumental leader and well respected in the church of Jesus Christ. He was a faithful giant among the saints. Jesus saw something in Peter that Peter didn't even know existed. Jesus believed in him and loved him and redeemed him and grew him through the power of the Holy Spirit.
There is a hope for each and everyone of else. Do you believe? Will you submit and obey? Will you allow God to lead you in his Kingdom will?