HOOF IN MOUTH


        As I contemplate The Apostle Peter’s life, it’s obvious to me that he had an explosively hot temper with a very short fuse.  He also found himself frequently with his sandaled foot in his mouth up to his knee.  The man is credited with some of the most beautifully profound utterances in Scripture.  And perhaps some of the dumbest.  His brain and his mouth seem disconnected at times and he wasn’t a very good listener when you first met him.  But you don’t dare tell him that!!  With no college training, no executive experience, he’s ready to contradict Jesus, arm-wrestle James and John and anyone and everyone else for Chief Advisor to King Jesus when He sets up His throne!  And, single handedly, he’s prepared to take on the Roman army and their tainted judicial system.  In my distorted imagination, I could almost see and hear him doing his “General Haig” impersonation if a crisis developed:  (“Don’t worry, folks.  I am in charge!”).

        Incidentally, it looks to me as if Peter (perhaps in partnership with Andrew) owned the boat in which Jesus spent right much time.  He and his brother seem to have been in a fishing business right there on the shores of Lake Gennasaret.   Peter and Bro Fishing business must have owned a pretty good-sized fishing craft, since we’re led to believe

          Jesus and His entire delegation of disciples on some occasions were all aboard.  Apparently at the same times.   On some occasions, Jesus anchored just offshore and, from the craft, taught some who came to hear Him.  Any way I view it, they must have owned a pretty good-sized commercial fishing boat.      

        Our boat is just a little 16 foot Mc Kee Craft, and I wouldn’t want more than four of us out on it at a time.  That’s in the peaceful backwaters or the inland waterway on a nice day with only a gentle breeze, Dramamine, lifejackets, ship to shore communication in case we need SEATOW.  And we’re not too far from home and no threatening clouds are on the horizon.  

         Have you seen the painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware?*  That would have scared the living daylight out of me. “The Father of Our Country” may have known a lot about fighting a war; but he for sure didn’t know anything about riding or driving a boat.  How many guys are in there anyhow?  And how much equipment?   First thing I’d have said is:  “Down in front.  Don’t rock the boat.”  The Father of our Country should’ve known better than that!


         While  “away from my desk,” I’ve read accounts of Peter’s life and pondered them  . . . searching specifically for clues to his “downfall.”  Some of those things are fairly obvious, and we’ve discussed them to some extent.  Some of the information here might sound a bit redundant, and I apologize if that seems to be the case.

          In my attempt to clarify this in my own mind, it seems to me that the way he” messed up” had to do with a couple of key factors:   (1.)  He wasn’t clear on the identity of Jesus.  Check me out on this.  One time he burst out in answer to Jesus question about who He was.  With hardly a second’s pause, Peter uttered the profound: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”   Jesus complimented him for that declaration, even though He said it wasn’t something Peter had simply “figgered out on his own.”  It was a Revealed truth.  It seems at the time, Peter didn’t grasp the enormity of the truth he himself had just blurted out. 

         As evidence of the fact that Peter failed to understand what he’d just said, it was only moments later when Jesus rebuked him, saying:  “Get behind me, Satan.  You don’t “savor the things of God.”  

       But Peter grabbed him in protest. Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. “Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! You have no idea how God works (Matthew 8:32-33).

         Another time when Jesus appeared with Abraham and Moses, Peter gushed about how great it was to have three such great figures together, and  “maybe we oughta stay right there.  Erect a monument, or something like that.”  (Matthew: 9:2-4 Six days later, three of them did see it. Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. His clothes shimmered, glistening white, whiter than any bleach could make them. Elijah, along with Moses, came into view, in deep conversation with Jesus. 

          (Matthew 9:5-6)   Peter interrupted, “Rabbi, this is a great moment! Let’s build three memorials- one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah.” He blurted this out without thinking, stunned as they all were by what they were seeing.   This deserves a closer look and some thought.  It seems as if Peter is fascinated with the appearance of two Old Testament “Saints,” and ranks them right up there with “Rabbi” Jesus.  Or, is he bringing the Son of God down to the level of other “great men?”  At any rate, when Matthew tells us what happened next, the response comes down directly from Heaven.  (Vs. 7) “Just then a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and from deep in the cloud, a voice: ‘This is my Son, marked by my love. Listen to him.”

        “Pay attention to what He has to say.”   Jesus is not a mere man.  Not even a ‘Great Man.’ He is uniquely the Son of God.  He does not deserve or need or accept our patronage.  The appropriate approach has Him in a class by Himself.  Peter “blew” that call.  

         The Voice from Heaven set the record straight.  This is not just a “great man.”  “This is my beloved Son.  Listen to Him.”   Jesus brooks no comparison.   If you think He’s simply a great man, you miss the point about His identity.  Even saying He’s the greatest man doesn’t come close to the claims Jesus made about Himself.  Or the Bible says.

         The other place I feel Peter was found to be vulnerable is (2.)  He did not think like Jesus. You see him several times quarreling over who’d be first when the “Kingdom” came. Jockeying for position. Pushing to the head of the line.  Without much effort, you can probably cite several examples that show this was not the way Jesus thought.  Nor the way He was training His leaders.  

         Another time Peter rebuked Jesus when He (who knew more about Messiah’s mission than anyone) told Jesus He really didn’t know what He was talking about.  Peter was self-centered.  Egotistical.  Erupted impulsively and explosively at the slightest provocation.  There are other instances which appear to me to underscore these points at which Peter was vulnerable. 

         Years later, the Apostle Paul wrote to some friends saying:  “Let this mind be in you which also was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Paul explains in detail what that might mean, but early in his relationship with Jesus Peter certainly did not seem to “get it.”  It was only after his denial at the arrest of Jesus, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and his own restoration that Peter began to understand what Jesus had been trying to show and teach him.  How he should think.  How he should live.  

        It is not within the realm of possibility to live the way Christ wishes us to do, apart from learning how to think as He thinks.  That entails Him actually living in and through us.  Since that often turns our world upside down, many aren’t willing to pay that kind of price.

          A parting comment:  I hope my motives and methods are clear.  Believing each of us faces the same kinds of trials as we seek to know and serve the Lord Christ, I’m simply attempting to discover how some “saints” dealt with their own trials successfully.  Believing we serve the same Lord, it’s my opinion that He will deal faithfully and graciously with  each of us.  JUST AS HE DID with those who’ve gone before. . .  even when we get tripped up and fall.  Or get knocked down and trounced.  Or when we fail disgracefully or deliberately.  He does not throw us off His “team” simply because we “sin and come short of the glory of God.”  He is “longsuffering toward us; not willing that any of us should perish.”  

          I hope you NEVER FORGET THAT.  

      God’s servant, Your friend, brother and fellow student  ~donkimrey

         A parting comment:  I hope my motives and methods are clear.  Believing each of us faces the same kinds of trials as we seek to know and serve the Lord Christ, I’m simply attempting to discover how some “saints” dealt with their own trials successfully.  Believing we serve the same Lord, it’s my opinion that He will deal faithfully and graciously with each of us.  JUST AS HE DID with       those who’ve gone before. . .  even when we get tripped up and fall.  Or get           knocked down and trounced.  Or when we fail disgracefully or deliberately.  He   does not throw us off His “team”  permanently simply because we “sin and come short of the glory of God.”  He is “longsuffering toward us; not willing that any should perish.”  

         

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2 responses to “HOOF IN MOUTH

  1. And perhaps the saddest blunder of all (to me) was Peter abandoning Christ – not once but thrice. It’s shocking, nearly unforgivable… until I examine myself. (sigh) How many times have I abandoned Him? When I’m too busy to pray… too tired to worship… too embarrassed to talk to others about the Best Friend I’ve ever had. Are my abandonment’s less shocking? Sadly they are not. Are they forgivable? Jesus extended mercy and forgiveness to Peter back then. He does the same to me today. (smile) Jesus generously paves the way for ComeBack Kids with mercy and forgiveness .

    Thanks for making Peter so relatable, Don.

  2. good post, don. thanks.

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