I love that the bunch of people Jesus chose to train as his elite witness-making squad was a bunch of rag tag, unexpecteds.
A bunch of people who would never have willingly hung out together and who had some seriously divergent points of view on many things – including their religion.
And right in the centre of the action is Peter.
I love Peter – I love that he adored Jesus and he expressed it in all kinds of unfit ways.
He tried to convince him not to go to the cross, not to choose the hard.
He gave way to anger and chopped off a soldiers ear when they came to pick up Jesus. Which Jesus healed.
Then when Jesus is in the centre of being tried and mocked his own need for self preservation and his fear meant he denied even knowing Jesus at all.
He leapt out of the boat in the storm, eyes on Jesus then got overcome and stopped looking at Jesus and freaked out.
In a holy and sacred moment Peter pitches in and suggests building shelters for Jesus, Elijah and Moses like some wonderful pilgrimage/tourist destination.
When Jesus called to them from the shore and he realised it was him he leapt into the water fully clothed (I assume) and swam in.
Peter is all enthusiasm, and lack of impulse control, he adores Jesus but he wants to save his own skin… later he becomes a key leader in the early church and a fearless evangelist but that doesn’t stop him having fights and disagreements with Paul – essentially he is the same Peter given more responsibility and understanding. He is still Peter but more transformed.
I can relate to Peter – I am over enthusiastic, I look for the easy way out, I shut down or flare up when I am confronted, I can offend without thinking, I want to set Jesus somewhere and know I can meet him there – like I can hold him one place,
I leap into the waves and then realise I am drowning because I started to focus on the experience and not the one who is with me in the experience.
But…. Jesus chose Peter
Jesus loved Peter
Jesus chose to build his church on a rock called Peter
Jesus reprimanded Peter, on many occasions, but he still kept him right in the centre.
If there is room for Peter to be a powerful one who advances the kingdom then there is still room for someone who talks too much, does the wrong thing, misinterprets, acts impulsively…. but adores Jesus with all his/her heart.
Adoring God doesn’t mean I am right or that I will get it right but I think it is the pre-requisite for being part of the action. Adoring God doesn’t mean he won’t correct me and build humbleness and wisdom into me in ways I’d rather avoid.
And as I continue to gaze to him I may find that I am transformed to be more like him and more like me too. I may begin to realise that all my weaknesses and impulses can still be made good.
May we stop looking at the things we have done or not done, the words we have said or not said, the things that should disqualify us and be reminded that somewhere in that bunch of 12 and the other special ones (who included ladies) there is someone we can relate to – someone that Jesus used to change the world with a tsunami of power and love.
And when we are reminded of that may we stop self-excusing and get on with the job of getting it done.
doubters, brawlers, outcasts, tax-collectors, warriors, fishermen, introverts and extroverts, from noble lineage and from no-body lineage, older siblings, younger siblings… the whole gamut all in Jesus special group
may our focus move from ourself and our circumstances to the One who is holding his hand out to us across the waves and calling come.
may we focus on the One who calls us by name, who woos us, who can make nation changers from people who feel like their foot is permanently in their own mouth.