We often look to God and hope His will fits into our agenda. Whether subconsciously or not, we want Him to squeeze into our schedule and confirm our plans for a happy life. But, it doesn’t take long to realize that God doesn’t conform to our carefully crafted hopes and dreams. He’s so much greater, and has so much more for us, than we can ever imagine.
We see this evidenced in and through the life of Peter. When he and his fishing buddies encounter Jesus they find him compelling enough to literally drop what they are doing and follow Him. Not too long into their journey, after a few miraculous healings and powerful exorcisms, they begin to realize He is more than just your average Rabbi.
He dines with the worst of sinners. He instructs them to feed their enemies, to give thieves the shirt off their back, to forgive when offended – not just once, but 70 x 7 times. Even the wind and the seas obey Him! Who is this guy?
In John 6, just after the Feeding of the 5000, Jesus calls those who were casually hanging around to really follow Him. Nearly everybody drifts away. This kind of Jesus who calls for commitment and self-sacrifice isn’t who they are looking for. But a few remain, captivated by the words of Jesus. Peter recognizes Jesus as “the Holy One of God” who proclaims “words of eternal life.”
A whole lot more happens in Peter’s life between John 6 and John 21, but I’m quite certain Jesus isn’t the Messiah Peter expects. Like most of the Jews of that day, he is looking for a warrior, a King, one who would overthrow the government and reign supreme. Peter and the rest thought that’s who Jesus is…until He’s nailed to the cross. Then resurrected, then ascended! He is so much more.
Jesus is the King, on His terms, not ours.
Everything about Peter’s life changes when he meets Jesus. He goes from casting a net to preaching the gospel. He leaves the safety and familiarity of the sea to follow the wild and unfathomable Creator of the Universe. A perfect picture of what it’s really like to take up your cross and follow Christ.
I Peter, a letter written toward the end of Peter’s life, give us a glimpse into his heart for Jesus, his shepherd’s heart for God’s children, and his compassionate heart for the lost. It doesn’t take very long to see the depth of Peter’s love for the Lord forged in the white hot fires of affliction. It’s encouraging to know that we’re reading inspired words penned by a man who walked closely with the Savior.
If you’re studying along with us, approach your time in this great book of Scripture with humility. Open your heart and your hands and receive what He has for you – on His terms. Also, approach your study with a sense of expectancy. God’s Word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to judge the thoughts and intention of your heart” (Hebrews 4:12). And, finally, approach this season in I Peter poised and ready for transformation
There is only one way of reading that is congruent with the Holy Scriptures, “do not always remain bent over the pages; often lean back and close your eyes over a line you have been reading again, and let it’s meaning spread through your blood…Let it enter your soul as food enters your stomach, spread through your blood, and become holiness and love and wisdom (paraphrase from Eugene Peterson’s Eat This Book).