Matt Garrison • Pastor of Family Ministries
Lessons from the Life of Peter
This week, we will look at the life of Peter, a follower of Jesus and a prominent leader of the early church, and learn some life lessons that can apply to our lives.
MONDAY: The Comeback Kid
How is the New Year going so far? When you were growing up, did you ever cheat in a game or on a test? If so, how did you feel? More than likely, guilt came to the forefront. Guilt always seems to show up when we do something wrong.
Peter was devoted to Jesus and he wanted everyone to know that. However, within hours of Peter claiming he would die for Jesus, he lies on three separate occasions about knowing Jesus. Peter could’ve let that event deactivate his faith. Jesus visits Peter after he rose from the dead and gives Peter a second chance. Jesus knew then what He wants us to know now: Grace > Guilt.
Thank Jesus for all He has done for you and know that grace > guilt.
TUESDAY: Sink or Swim
Do you like to swim? Maybe you have fond memories of summers at the beach or maybe you don’t like to swim. In today’s passage it could be the most famous or second most famous event in the life of Peter.
The disciples are rowing their boat and a strong wind comes upon them at three o’clock in the morning! Jesus comes to them walking on the water. Instead of freaking out, Peter asks Jesus that if it’s really Him, to let him walk towards Him on the water, and Jesus agrees. Peter gets out of the boat and begins to walk on the water! That would be a cool experience. Peter begins to take his eyes off of Jesus and starts to sink. Jesus grabs him and asks why he doubted. Doubt and faith don’t have to be opposites. Jesus was okay with Peter’s doubt. We don’t have to let doubt drown our faith.
When the seasons of doubt come, keep your focus on Jesus. Make a list of everything you know about God and when doubt starts to come in, take out your list and read it.
WEDNESDAY: Work In Progress
Acts 11:1-3; 17-18
Have you ever been disappointed by someone who you looked up to? How else did you feel? I’m sure it hurt and it may have made you rethink some things. If this person followed Jesus, it could have potentially made you rethink if you would continue following Jesus. When we are hurt by people who follow Jesus it does a number on us. Peter goes to the house of a gentile named Cornelius and has dinner with him. In the 1st century, this was a huge faux pas. Jews did not eat with Gentiles, let alone enter their home to eat. People began to say things about Peter. However, he knew something that we can use today: when we refuse to forget who we follow, it changes how we see people. He kept his focus on God and what He was doing and not on the complaints of others. Peter knew we follow God, not people.
Ask God to help you see others the way He sees them.
THURSDAY: That Job’s Not for Me
Peter decides after Jesus died that he is going back to the only thing he knows–fishing. The others follow him. They fish all night and catch nothing. The resurrected Jesus shows up in the morning and tells them to cast on the right side of the boat. They do and catch so many fish, they can’t pull the net into the boat. Once this happens, they realize that it’s the resurrected Jesus who is standing on the shore. It’s after the disciples have an encounter with the resurrected Jesus that changes all of them forever. Once Peter saw the risen Jesus he knew, everything Jesus said was true. When we have Jesus we have everything we need to live out our faith.
Know that you have access to the same kind of relationship with God that every leader in our church has and every hero in the Bible experienced!
FRIDAY: I’m Not the Same
Do you like caterpillars? Some look fuzzy and cute, and others look scary. Once they build their cocoon, there is a permanent change or metamorphosis that happens and they become a new creation–a butterfly! God is so creative! That is how a person is described when we come to faith in Jesus. We become a new creation.
We see this in Peter’s life after he sees and spends time with the resurrected Jesus. He becomes bold and proclaims and tells whoever will listen that Jesus is the Messiah–that He came to carry our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right! Peter preaches a similar message in Acts 2, and 3,000 people give their lives to follow Jesus. The man who was a coward and denied Jesus becomes a leader and pillar of the early church. Jesus can transform us into a new creation.
Know that you are not your past! Jesus can change you to become a new creation. He also wants you to live the abundant life.