Peter is an awesome person in Scripture. I think part of my attraction to this hero of the faith is his “reality.” He’s so much like us. One minute he’s bold and brash, proclaiming truth for the world to hear, the next he crumbles and struggles just like the rest of us.
Jesus asked “Who do you say that I am?” Peter (AKA Simon) said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus blessed him and changed His name to Peter, which means rock. Jesus then went on to say on this “rock” I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
A few minutes later, Jesus is instructing His disciples on His impending death and Peter comes to the rescue. I won’t let this happen, I will protect you. In that moment Jesus calls him Satan. What happened to the Rock? Oh, Peter is still the rock, but right now, he’s off track and Jesus needs to set him straight. You see Peter wants to save Jesus, but it’s Jesus’ death will save Peter (and all the rest of us as well). Getting in the way of that plan would be the work of Satan, not God.
Another time, when Jesus is speaking of His death, Peter vows to stand with Jesus even if he has to die and Jesus informs him that before long he will deny three times that he even knows Jesus. Of course, Peter tries to rebut that, but to no avail because a short time later that is exactly what happens. Peter denied Jesus three times just as Jesus said. What happened to the Rock?
Peter is still the Rock…
Later after Jesus died and was resurrected, He met with Peter again. Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. You can hear the pain in Peter’s voice as he replies yes, over and over. It almost seems like Jesus is being cruel to the one who denied him. In actuality, Jesus was healing a restoring Peter, three denials cancelled out by three affirmations, and after each affirmation, the same command, some variation of feed my sheep.
It’s clear what Jesus is doing. Peter is reinstated. He is still the Rock. He (and HIs proclamation of Jesus’ Lordship) is still the foundation of the Church men like Peter would begin. The road will be a hard one, ending in death for Peter, but God’s Kingdom will be advanced, the church of Jesus Christ will be built and Peter (like us) will receive his eternal reward.
In Acts 2, that church truly is born, and who steps to the forefront? Peter! It’s Peter who declares truth. It’s Peter who preaches the Word. It’s Peter who brings the message, a hard message that includes the fact that the people killed their own Messiah. Yet that message draws thousands to repentance. So you know what that message is?
It’s Peter feeding Jesus’ sheep.
None of us have achieved perfection and we won’t on this side of the grave. We will mess up. We will make mistakes. We may even sin. None of those things change who we are in Christ. Peter was still the Rock, even when he failed. When you fail, repent and return to your path. Don’t give up.
Feed His sheep as we build on the Rock.