Monday, December 7, 2009

A Pot named Peter

Why did Jesus pick Peter? Why did Jesus pick any of His disciples? For that matter, why does God pick any of us?

Imagine Peter as a fisherman, as a business partner, father, husband or friend.

He must have been a good fisherman because that is what he did to make a living. It seems like if that is what you're doing to support your family you must be at least ok at it. He would have been interesting to hang out in the boat, or mend nets, with all the time. His partners had to spend lots of time with this guy who had an opinion about everything and was not afraid to tell it. Here was a guy who spoke before he thought and worried little about what others felt until it was already on the table. Did he ever stop talking? Did any of the rest of the men ever say anything when Peter was around?

Was he a good dad? Did he have kids? If so, he may have been the kind of guy who was a good provider but was more concerned with work than with what was happening at home. He spoke to the kids before he thought about what they were going to feel and he expected them to be at the front of the class as leaders. As a husband he was loving in his own way. Extremely loyal to his wife, good provider but there was no question who was the boss. He was a Jewish man who took his place seriously.

He took Provers 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend... to a whole new level. As a friend, there were many wounded around him. He was going to tell you what he thought whether you liked it, or him, or not. He saw "clearly" what the issue was and he wanted to make sure you knew he saw it. You really wanted Peter on your side, but there were certainly times when that cost you some skin and you wondered if you had friends like this do you really need enemies.

Peter was a man of amazing faith and yet Jesus only told him personally that his faith was little- ironically right after he jumped out of the boat. His faith moved from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows within seconds or feet- however you want to measure it.

Peter was a man of immense courage and no courage. He rebuked Jesus and even chopped off the servant of the high priest's ear, in front of the guards. He wasn't afraid of anyone, except a small girl.

How could Jesus pick Peter? How could the Son of God, the One Who knows exactly what He's getting when He picks someone- how could HE pick Peter? He knew Peter was all over the map. He, if anyone, knew Peter was never in balance, not often quiet and was going to give Him a lot of things to fix. Peter walked and talked and left a wake of wounded behind Him that Jesus would have to heal. But Peter was in Jesus' "fav 12". In fact, Peter was in Jesus' "Fav 3".

Should Jesus have picked someone who was more balanced- more stable? Well, someday you can ask Jesus that yourself if you end up in Heaven. But Jesus knew exactly what He was doing when He picked Peter- He knew exactly what He was getting into- exactly what He was picking.

Most of the negative things are in me. How can I be useful to Christ with all those things? How can I be a business man, with no college education, not status, no credentials and lots of quirky character traits and still be useful to Christ? How can I have lots of faith one minute and have it dashed on the rocks the next and be useful? How can I be the one who talks before he thinks and be useful for Christ? Peter wanted, more than anything, to be useful for Christ. He wanted to set the pace for the others to follow and he didn't really care if others took issue with him, just follow. If that meant death then so be it- but follow.

Peter was rebuked harder than anyone except the Pharisees. Peter was in a category by himself and that was not necessarily the category he wanted to be in. But Peter loved his Master. Peter wanted more than anything to please His Master. He was a very close and loyal friend to Jesus. Peter lived where Jesus lived and saw what Jesus saw and he liked it so much that he wanted to build Jesus a house so they could all live together, even if they were up on the mountain- that didn't matter as long as he could be close to Jesus.

I want to live with Jesus. I want to follow close to Jesus. I know if Jesus can use a "normal" guy like Peter maybe He can use someone like me too. Maybe. Hopefully. Should I change who I am? Did Peter change? Peter grew in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and God used Peter to change the world. I want to be a clay pot like Peter- not special but certainly very useful to the Master. Peter was one of Jesus' favorite pots to use and He used that beat up pot a lot.

I am thankful that He picked someone like Peter because most all of those "negative" things in Peter are in me and probably in some of you, and that gives me hope- hope of usefulness.

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