Some things with which we have to deal are difficult. Very difficult. As much as we enjoy and appreciate things which are beautiful, not everything is bright and beautiful. “Mountain top” experiences are to be cherished. But there simply are valleys through which we have to travel. I like to see folks rejoicing, happy, upbeat and victorious…but in reality that is not the way life is. Before victory comes, there has to be a battle. Before the battle, someone needs to train and prepare and be ready for conflict. That process of preparation is arduous, sometimes torturous, tedious and demands the most of us. The actual battle requires all the strength we can muster, and even sometimes “the last full measure of our devotion.”
So Peter’s struggles aren’t exciting. Certainly nothing to shout about. It would take a perverted, almost inhuman, spirit to get a “kick” out of seeing someone betray his ideals. Or fall flat on his face in a puddle of “poo,” or get lost in a frightening wilderness. Or be beaten down in despair.
Most of what we’ve considered about Peter up to this point has dealt with his humanity. His frailty. His shortcomings. His glaring weaknesses. Reasons which would cause anyone to doubt his ability or dependability or his commitment to any cause. So most of us can pretty easily understand how Peter “fell.” From some of our own bitter experiences, we can can also tell you how he felt. Each of us has (or will) at sometime know the pain of brutal betrayal by a trusted friendl. Or the consequences of our own ignorance or wilful disobedience.
Peter was a lot like I. Up to and including his love of the shore. Like him, there are stains and blotches on my record, memories which time cannot erase. I keep hoping my children learn as much from my mistakes as they did from the things I may have done right!
From this point, we’re considering how he became a “Comeback Kid.” Now that’s something about which you can rejoice. Just as I can learn from his mistakes, so I can also learn from his recovery. The same Christ who restored Peter, is still in the “salvage” business! But, as Ethel Waters once said, “God don’t make no junk.” The Apostle Paul wrote: “If any man is in Christ, he becomes a new creation. Old things are passed away, and behold all things are become new.”
At the beginning of our study, I mentioned what I feel is one of the key clues to Peter’s “comeback.” That was his faith in Messiah. In my opinion, that was the anchor for Peter. You know a boat can never get far away from its anchor. A tree never falls far from it’s roots. Those years Peter spent walking and working closely with Jesus filled a void no one else could ever fill. In my early days as a young Christian, I was around some “old timey” Believers. They’d “testify.” Once I heard and old gntleman say: “When I got saved, I got such a jerk toward Heb’n that I been outta joint with the world ever since.” Quaint. Cute. Amusing. Yes. But it also illustrates I point which I’m convinced is valid: Once you have a close encounter with the Lord Christ, nothing and no one will ever be able to replace that. And if you stray away, I feel confident your soul will be drawn back as surely as a magnet needle is always drawn toward the North.
Sometime last year, we spent a while considering something Jesus said to Peter while they were having the “first” Last Supper. At the time, the idea of “Comeback Kids” had not yet begun to germinate in my mind. Certainly not as it related to Simon Peter. However, as I’ve reflected on the fisherman’s life, it seems to me that was as instrumental in his “comeback” as anything. The deep longings of his soul had been met. A foundation had been laid. Through this, the invitation to become a Disciple, and his years spent following the dear Lord Jesus Christ, we are virtually assured that Peter would return. Someday. Somehow. Hopefully, that would occur sooner rather than later!
Once Jesus said: “You haven’t chosen me; I have chosen you.” Peter had discovered a love that would not let him go!
In order to see this in proper context, I will next re-post the work we did on the conversation between Peter and Jesus on the night in which He was betrayed.
JUST ONE FURTHER THOUGHT in closing: My concern and commitment is to study Scripture. That is my desire and intention. I believe, however, that studying Scripture doesn’t involve simply citing references and quoting verses. And just accumulating facts and information. In my opinion, it involves thinking about what you read. Carefullly. prayerfully. Making accurate observations and drawing honest, sensible conclusions. Making appliation practically to my own life. And then, hopefully living more like Christ and sharing anything of value which I discover. `
God’s servant, your friend, brother, and fellow student, ~ donkimrey