Peter Pauper

Ever notice how many times in the Gospel accounts that Peter was doing the wrong thing?  He seemed to always be three steps in the opposite direction of where God wanted to go.  Here’s my possibly non-exhaustive study of Peter’s wrong turns:

  • John 1:35-51, Mark 1:16-20 and Matthew 4:18-22, Luke 5:1-11, John 21:1-25 – Peter was called to follow Jesus three different times.  In between each call, he went back to fishing, obliging Jesus to come back after him.  Even after Jesus’ resurrection and personal appearance to Peter, Peter still chose fishing over ministry until Jesus came to get him one last time.
  • Luke 5:5 – Tired from a long night of fishing, Peter argued with Jesus about casting the nets but gave in begrudgingly.
  •  Matthew 14:29 – Peter walked on water for a few moments, but then he took his eyes off Jesus.  Losing faith as he was threatened by the wind and the waves, Peter sank.
  • Matthew 17:25 – When questioned about the temple tax, Peter lied.  Jesus made an honest man out of him by giving him a profitable fish story.
  • Matthew 18:21 – Thinking he was being generous, Peter offered to forgive his brother up to seven times, but Jesus was thinking more in multiples.
  • Mark 8:32 – Peter rebuked Jesus for saying that He must be killed and rise again.
  • Mark 9:5-6 – Peter, not knowing what to say after the Transfiguration, should have said nothing at all.  Instead he proposed to build three shacks for Elijah, Moses and Jesus to live in even though they had more suitable living arrangements in heaven.
  • John 13:8 – Peter refused to let Jesus wash his feet until Jesus told Peter that he could have no part with Him unless he allowed his feet to be washed.
  • Mark 14:37-41 – Peter, James and John slept while Jesus was in agony in the garden even though He asked them three times to stay awake and pray with Him.
  • John 18:10 – Peter cut off Malchus’ ear trying to defend Jesus from the fate Jesus had already chosen to follow.
  • John 13:37; John 18:15-27 – Peter promised to lay down his life for Jesus, but when Jesus was arrested, Peter denied he knew Him three times.
  • Luke 24:12 – Despite all the prophesies Jesus shared about Himself, Peter was still slow to believe that the resurrection could be true.
  • John 21:21 – Always wanting to know “who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” Peter hoped to get Jesus to share his plans for John, the beloved, so that he could do a little comparison.

Peter once claimed to Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you!” (Matthew 19:27)  And maybe there was truth in that.  Peter had left his fishing business, his reputation and maybe members of his family to follow Jesus as He traveled from town to town.  But Peter didn’t leave everything.  He carried with him his impetuousness and his pride, and these were continuously at odds with Christ’s mission.

Always looking for a pat on the head from the Teacher or to prove that he was the greatest to his fellow apostles, Peter continuously brought Jesus things the Lord didn’t need or want.  A lie to protect The Way, The Truth and The Life, a shack to shelter the Creator God from the elements, some swordplay to rescue The Almighty from His captors…  Peter thought he had the most to offer among his peers, but he was really just Peter, the pauper, with nothing of value to bring.

If Peter hadn’t been so busy trying to get out in front of the Lord, he might have learned to wait on God’s leading.   Had he submitted to the Lord’s agenda and timetable, Peter’s leadership ability and strong faith would have been powerful tools in God’s hands.  But because Peter thought he knew best how to use what God had given him, his strengths became his greatest weaknesses.

All of us have God-given strengths and abilities.  But when we try to use them without allowing God to show us how and when, we just end up making a mess.  Even when we are well-intentioned, our “good thing” can get in the way of the “God thing.”  If we will just humbly bring Him the equivalent of our loaves and fishes, He will multiply them beyond all expectation.  Peter Pauper finally got it and showed on Pentecost what God can do with what little we have. 


1 Comment

Filed under Spiritual Growth

One response to “Peter Pauper

  1. ama49

    I like your post. It shows what God can do with us mortals. Even though Peter was weak, Christ had patience with him and eventually Peter became the head of Christ’s original church.

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