From fisherman to follower to failure to faithful, Peter illustrates the beauty of God’s grace even when we fall short.
When Jesus first found Peter, he was a fisherman sailing the seas to catch the fish that would be his livelihood for that day.
In the world’s eyes, Peter was an average citizen. In Jesus’ eyes, Peter had potential.
As Peter and Jesus’ friendship began to grow, Peter began to realize that rather than chasing fish for a living, Jesus was calling him to chase souls for a lifetime.
For three years, Peter watched Jesus perform miracles, teach crowds and save sinners from an eternity separated from God.
Peter is often labeled “impetuous Peter” because of his impatient tendency to take action rather than to think first. Many view this as a weakness, but Jesus tenderly encouraged Peter to be gentle in spirit; loving first and acting later.
In perhaps Peter’s greatest display of failure, he denied knowing Jesus three times shortly before Jesus’ death. In Luke 22, we read that on the third denial, over a charcoal fire, a rooster crowed and Jesus made eye contact with Peter, causing him to remember when Jesus had foretold this denial.
After being one of Jesus’ closest followers for three years, Peter turned his back on the very person who would save his soul by dying in his place.
After Jesus’ crucifixion, he encountered Peter by another charcoal fire. Here, Jesus restores him three times by asking if he loved him. When Peter admits his love for Jesus, Jesus commanded him to “Feed my sheep.” Jesus was telling Peter that even though he had failed, God still had a purpose for his life.
Jesus then tells Peter that one day he will die for the sake of Christ, and be crucified just as he was. John 21:19b says, “And after saying this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’” Jesus repeats the same words he said the first time he met Peter. It is as if he is offering Peter a fresh start; a chance to start over and glorify God with his life.
None of us are perfect and we are all flawed and broken people. God loves to use broken people because, in our weaknesses, his power is displayed.