2 Peter 1: 16-18: "For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.' We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain."
In his ministry, Peter writes to new Christians exhorting them to believe. He witnesses about a mountain top experience in his own faith journey, when he heard the voice of God. Sure, believing was easy THAT day.
But what about the day when Jesus was arrested, and in fear Peter abandoned God's son? Believing on that day was difficult. The Messiah was in chains, in the control of human rulers, or so it seemed. Peter denied Jesus three times, as Jesus said he would.
When this happened, where was Peter's boldness? The bold Peter was the disciple who wanted to leap in front of the pack when he finally understood a lesson. He was frequently admonished by Jesus for his exuberance. Even God the Father responded when Peter suggested on that mountaintop that they build three tabernacles to memorialize the experience: "This is my son... Listen to him."
Peter missed his chance to be bold when Jesus was arrested. Fearing his own demise, Peter cowered and denied he was a follower of Jesus. Then he ran away and wept in shame.
When did Peterís faith become deep enough to be bold for Christ? Did it all click on resurrection day? When Peter saw the risen Lord, did his eyes, still puffy from crying and sleeplessness, open wide with new understanding?
Resurrection Day was only the beginning of Peter's restoration.
In the 21st chapter of John, we read that sometime after the resurrection, Peter suggested he and some of the guys go fishing. Perhaps Peter thought, "I can be a faithful believer while I go back to making a living the way the way I know how."
Boldness fades away when we are ashamed. Guilt gnaws at our confidence until we are no longer sure of ourselves, or our worthiness to proceed. Peter's guilt drove him back to his fishing boat.
Thanks be that God is faithful to us even when we abandon Him. That was proven to Peter next.
Jesus met the disciples as they returned from an unproductive night of fishing. Jesus greets them from the shore and tells them to throw the nets out again. So many fish swarm to the nets that the men can barely lift them out of the water. The disciples realize only one source could provide such abundance. Jesus!
Peter's enthusiastic boldness returns. He dives into the water to get to Jesus first! As they all gather on the shore and eat breakfast that the Lord himself prepares, what joy and peace they must have felt.
In this friendly setting, Jesus singled Peter out. He gave him three new chances to confess the truth: "Do you love me?"
Yes. Yes. Yes, you know I do.
In the same exchange, Jesus empowers Peter, making it clear that Jesus had more for him to do than fish in the Sea of Galilee, as if to say,
"And notice you weren't doing very well at that until I came along this morning. You can't do anything without me. And you can do more than you realize with me. So get your bee-hind back to Jerusalem and start preaching!"
Now everything finally clicked for Peter. In the book of Acts we hear him boldly proclaiming the good news of Jesus in the temple. His faith performs miracles. The sheep that Jesus wanted fed are getting the Word of God that they need to live.
Jesus meets us where we are, helps us understand His desire for us, and equips us. Sometimes this blessing happens gently when we are seeking. Sometimes it happens when we are avoiding God but He knows we are capable of so much more. Sometimes it happens when we are not yet believers, as what happened to Saul when he was blinded, converted and renamed Paul.
Praise and trust in Jesus to meet you where you are, to wash away your guilty past, and to embolden you for a wonderful new life in Him and with Him!
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