Misfit Disciples in an Orthodox World

Misfit Disciples in an Orthodox World
"You had better be a round peg in a square hole than a round peg in a round hole. The latter is in for life, while the first is only an indeterminate sentence." – Elbert Hubbard

Just Like Peter...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jacob Wrestling God 1
Peter is a fascinating biblical character. He's definitely one that I can identify with, for various reasons. Without Peter, I might well think that there's no hope for me. But, looking at Peter's life and failures has breathed new life into my own hope that one day God will be able to use me again, in spite of my past and less than shinning moments.

I heard an old preacher, some years ago, preach a sermon on the O.T. patriarch, Jacob. He was talking about leadership and referred to Jacob's wrestling with the Angel of Lord along the banks of the river Jabbok. If you remember the story, you will recall that Jacob won the fight and to get away, the Angel dislocated Jacob's hip, causing Jacob to walk with a limp for the rest of his life (Ge 32:25,32). This was a life altering event, and one that had great significance for the children of Israel. The old preacher's conclusion: never trust a leader who doesn't have a limp!

Peter has no problems in this department; he has a very visible limp. One moment, Peter is declaring the Lord's messiah-ship, claiming Christ to be the son of God. The next moment, Peter is sticking his foot in his mouth and being rebuked by Jesus, in very harsh terms. One moment he's fighting for Christ in the garden, willing to lead an assault to keep Christ from being taken prisoner, the next he's cursing and decrying Christ, stating that he never knew him. These are the type of failures that follow you your entire life. The kind of failures that others never let you forget.

Yet, God chose Peter to lead this fledgling church that Jesus was leaving behind. He chose Peter to be a representative, a Kingdom Ambassador, commissioned to take the message of Jesus to the world. To show the world what Jesus is all about. This man, with a very lack luster resume, was the very man upon whom Jesus bestowed the keys of the kingdom, the power of binding and loosing; the man upon whom the church would be built. Obviously, there are allot of different interpretations about what all these things mean, but no one can deny that Peter played a very significant role in the early establishment of the church. And, this involvement was by design. Jesus chose him, and in spite of Peter's best efforts to ruin himself, Jesus was deliberate about Peter's call and the part he would play in the church.

All this gives me hope. I'm a screw up, just Peter. Just like Peter, I've walked away feeling like all was lost, going back to who I was, doing what I've always done. Just like Peter, Jesus has come back to very same place, finding me in the very same boat I was in when he found me. He finds me weary, having fished all night for nothing; just spinning my wheels, over and over again. Just like Peter, I've heard Jesus tell me to do it all over again, throw that net into the water one more time. (Jn 21:1-19)

I've heard Jesus say to me many times, “do you love me more than...?” You fill in the blanks. Jesus looks past what everyone else sees. There's a value in us that is not always visible to others. But Christ is committed to making us what he wants us to be. And while he was the stone that the builder's rejected, Peter became the least likely pillar of the church as well. Yet his influence and the mythology of his life and ministry still impacts the world today.

This encourages me. Some may reject me, but Jesus has embraced me. Even when he knew I'd screw it up, deny him, and run as fast and as hard as I could from his cross. Yet, Jesus can see in me what you can't, knows my tomorrow in ways that no one but him can, and somehow, he's deemed me, and you... a good investment.

Keep your head up today!


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