A Man Called Peter

IMGThere’s an important lesson we can learn about ourselves by studying the ministry of Peter. Here we have a man so full of zeal for Christ, but when tested he fell short in his faith. There are several stories about Peter which I feel define all of us to a certain degree.

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Luke 22:31-32 (KJV)

Sifting wheat is the process of separating the seed heads of the inedible parts of the wheat. This is accomplished by violently beating the wheat with instruments to separate the kernels from the unusable part of the plant which is called the chaff. I am reminded both of Paul being buffeted by a messenger of Satan (2 Corinthians 12:7 KJV) and my previous article about being tried seven times by fire to come forth as gold. Like that allegory wheat being harvested and prepared is also used to represent God perfecting us through trials and tribulations.

And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
Luke 22:33-34 (KJV)

I find it interesting that Peter denied our Lord three times, could that have some significance? We are created in the image of God as tripartite beings, could it be that each denial was intended to enslave him body, soul and spirit to Satan?

And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
Luke 22:60-62 (KJV)

Have you ever denied Christ in word or deed? I know I have, and it wasn't even for something as serious as the fear of death, but mere social consequences. I am so ashamed of myself now, yet just as there was redemption for Peter there is for us. This incident was Satan's knockout punch in Peter's fight; he was on the canvas, down for the count, but it wasn't over yet.

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 10:33 (KJV)

Denying Christ is no minor matter, if not dealt with it could have resulted in Peter's abandoning the faith. Sometimes we may deny Him by the words we speak, or by our silence. But there are more ways of denying Christ than just with our lips. We deny Him through our actions, or lack thereof. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:1 KJV) if we deny any scripture we are in fact denying Christ. If we believe the bible is the Word of God we must do our very best to obey every commandment within its covers.

And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
Matthew 14:28-31 (KJV)

Where Peter lacked in the faith department he made up for by calling on Jesus to help him. This is really the key to our salvation; to give everything we have yet still come up short. All of us fall short of the mark, even when we do our very best not to. This is where Jesus fits in; His precious blood bridges the gap between us and God.

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
John 21:15-17 (KJV)

Just as he denied Christ Peter later affirmed his love for Him three times. Did you notice in the very first verse I quoted Christ told Peter to strengthen the brethren when he is converted? In the above passage we see Jesus once again tell Peter to “feed my sheep”. And what did He mean by “When you are converted”? I believe the sifting process is what Christ was referring to. Have you ever heard teaching on this conversion? This is certainly worthy of a more serious study.

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