One of the early Church’s greatest leaders. Writer of two New Testament epistles. Disciple of Jesus Himself. Fisherman by trade.
Yet we could also describe this man as impetuous, quick-tempered, and cowardly. Under pressure, he caved and denied his Lord—not once, but three times. His name was Simon Peter, and we can learn much from his life.
Just hours before Peter’s infamous denial, Jesus warned His disciples that they would be offended because of Him. Peter protested, saying, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.” (Matthew 26:33) He was certain that, no matter what, he would stay true to his Master. Yet history tells us that Peter went on to deny Jesus because he was afraid. Peter failed Jesus because he wasn’t depending on God’s grace.
Like Peter, we, too, will fail without God’s help. After being saved, we still struggle with our sin nature. The good news is that God has grace available for our constant need. As He told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…” (2 Cor. 12:9) At the local church’s prison ministry, we want to depend on God’s grace so that we can stay faithful.
The apostle Luke records what happened after Peter’s denial. “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.”
Can you imagine the guilt and shame that must have washed over Peter’s soul? Knowing that he had denied his Master must have been excruciatingly painful. Yet, after Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to Peter. After providing a miraculous catch of fish, He asked Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” (John 21:15) Peter replied that he did. Jesus responded, “Feed my lambs…Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-16)
Even though Peter had failed dramatically, Jesus restored him to ministry. He even prophesied how Peter would eventually become a martyr for Christ. Because of God’s grace, Peter went from despair to hope.
Like Peter, we often fail. Yet, when we confess our sin, He will forgive us and restore us to fellowship with Him (1 John 1:9) At the local church’s prison ministry, we are thankful for God’s willingness to forgive us.
Through God’s grace, we can do anything He calls us to do.
Despite his lack of formal education and humble background, Peter went on to have a powerful ministry to his own people. He preached at Pentecost, and five of his sermons are recorded in the book of Acts. God also used him to write the epistles of 1 Peter and 2 Peter. Without God’s help, these accomplishments would have been impossible.
God often calls us to do things that are beyond our own abilities. That way, we can learn to depend on His grace. Jesus said, “…He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5) By God’s grace, we can do what would otherwise be impossible.
How has God taught you about His grace in your own life? Can you relate to Peter’s experiences? Let us know in the comments!
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