Today's Devotional

The Impulsive Rock (14 May)

"Simon, Simon! Listen! Satan has received permission to test all of you, to separate the good from the bad, as a farmer separates the wheat from the chaff. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail. And when you turn back to me, you must strengthen your brothers." Peter answered, "Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you and to die with you!" "I tell you, Peter," Jesus said, "the rooster will not crow tonight until you have said three times that you do not know me."
Luke 22:31-34

Near the top of my list of favorite Bible characters I would have to place Peter. Not because he was a powerful speaker or writer like Paul, not because he lived a life of righteousness like Joseph. I like Peter because he was impulsive and learned from his mistakes.

Peter figures in more stories in the gospels than any of the other disciples. In most of them, he does or says something on impulse and has to be corrected. Here are just a few of them:

He gets out of the boat in the middle of the lake to walk to Jesus and then looks at the circumstances and sinks. Jesus has to scold him (Matt 14:22-31).

At Jesus' transfiguration Peter speaks unwisely and gets a mild rebuke right out of heaven (Matthew 17:4-5).

In the passage quoted above he swears to die with Jesus but then denies him, just as Jesus said he would.

When Jesus starts to wash the disciples' feet, Peter refuses. Then when Jesus explains how important it is, Peter says, "then wash all of me," again meriting a correction from his Lord (John 13: 8-10).

When Jesus asks the disciples who they think he is, it is Peter who declares him to be the Messiah, the Son of God. But almost immediately afterward he contradicts Jesus' prediction that he will be arrested and killed. Jesus has to say to him, "Get behind me, Satan." (Matthew 16:15- 23).

When the soldiers come to arrest Jesus in the garden, it is Peter who pulls out a sword to fight back. Jesus has to tell him to put it away (John 18:10-11).

Even with all these examples and others, Jesus picks out Peter to be the leader of the group after he has departed, as we read in (Luke 22). Jesus' choice was confirmed on many occasions, as Peter is clearly the spokesman and leader in the first chapters of Acts. Jesus even changes his name to "rock" (Matthew 16:18), showing that he knew Peter's impulsive nature would someday provide a stability needed by the other disciples.

I believe God prefers that we move out and take risks-even impulsive ones-rather than sitting back passively and letting others do everything.

Peter's last written words show what he learned to be important in his last years: "Continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, now and forever!" (2 Peter 3:18). Growing in grace, growing to know the Lord more, and bringing him glory.

- 14 MAY -

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