People who met Jesus: Peter
People who met Jesus: Peter The Gospels Summer Hill Church 13 January 2019 1. The need for Significance a. We all have a deep inbuilt need for significance i. it’s one of the most fundamental emotional needs we have after the need for love (1) and we have spent much of the last 50 years teaching one another that significance really matters to us psychologically ii. some of us have it much more deeply embedded than others, to the point that sometimes it can seem that (1) absolutely everything they do is directed towards pointing what a big and important person they are iii. and we love to be appreciated, and thanked (1) because we have this deep need (a) but the problem we face is that we have the saints as Christian examples (2) and to be frank, they always seem just a bit too perfect for me to be anything like them (a) but the reality as we will see, is that even the great Apostle Peter, was not perfect, was a very human being (i) and so can give us hope, and a way forward in our life of transformation (3) and will speak to some of our deepest needs for significance, but not the way we expect it to, because Peter is not a simple success story. 2. Someone just like us a. a real person i. Peter was just an ordinary guy - he was a fisherman (1) He had 2 ‘homes’ - one on each side of the lake - Bethsaida and Capernaum (2) and there is good reason to believe that the home of Peter has been found in Capernaum, and now lies underneath a Franciscan church (a) you can see it’s quite close to the lake, as you would expect a Fisherman’s house to be (3) and he was probably reasonably uneducated ii. we get used to the idea of universal education (1) but he almost certainly was not formally schooled (a) we assume he could read - most males could in Israel at the time, but he almost certainly couldn’t write iii. he was called as one of the first disciples by Jesus with his brother Andrew (a) and they dropped everything and followed Jesus. (i) As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:16–18 b. enthusiasm i. He began well didn’t he - excited. Following the master (1) leaving his work for a chancy life on the road with an itinerant preacher ii. he’s either inspired or deluded, or a bit crazy, or perhaps all three (1) but that all happened because he had heard about Jesus and met him. iii. real excitement - but it’s not long till things go a little pear shaped. iv. Julianne is going to read from her seat for us. Open it up (a) When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. Matthew 16:13–20 164 words c. gets it right i. Peter’s at the top of his game. Speaking for all the disciples he nails it! You are the Messiah, the Christ ii. and Jesus says he’s blessed because God has revealed it to him (1) Knowing who Jesus really is - knowing God is more than intellectual (2) and it must be so, because God is so much more complex and deeper than our brains, and even more - he’s a person (a) you can’t just know people by reasoning alone. (3) you have to listen, trust, relate, respond (a) 2+2 is 4 no matter how I relate or respond to it (i) but my friends are not my friends because of some abstract fact, but because of acts of trust. (4) People are not friends if I don’t trust them. And one way I show you trust is I reveal things about myself to you iii. to know Jesus, he reveals himself to you - what matters is how you respond iv. and Peter responded rightly (1) Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah d. and gets it wrong - he drops the ball (1) From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:21–23 101 words ii. See, Peter makes the confession, you are the Christ - but doesn’t really get it. He’s only got part of the picture (1) Messiah = king, and you don’t tell kings what their plans should be (a) Peter is trying to relate to Christ on his own terms, the way he wants and thinks the king should be - so he rebukes him (2) Jesus, let me tell you what it should really be - and we do that so often iii. we want the comfort of being on the right side of God, but on our terms (1) when we try to bargain with God - God if you give me - health, boyfriend, good results, a raise, a happy life, etc then I will _______ give more money, go to church, be nice to people, stop swearing/speeding/drinking/ (a) that’s when we are trying to set the terms (2) and that’s what Jesus is responding to here so strongly (a) get behind me Satan! - because it’s a lie about God (i) you don’t relate to Jesus by telling him what to do! iv. but Peter makes another mistake in ch 17 (1) After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” Matthew 17:1–4 89 words (2) Face to face with the glory of God, Peter wants to put up a tent! (a) It’s a classic Peter moment, when he opens his mouth and plants his foot square and deep into it (3) They are glorified heavenly beings, Jesus is resplendent in his glory, and Peter just bumbles along and suggests a rain shelter… (a) again, something that is so deep within some of us, that when it comes to the crunch we do stupid things (i) under stress we can say the stupidest stuff, and Peter is exactly like us in that way (4) brain turns off, and says the first thing that comes into his head e. Denial i. and he even denies Jesus after he’s arrested. (1) After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:73–75 70 words ii. So Peter really is a mess, he seems to get it, then he misses the mark entirely, he does stupid things under pressure, and then he basically turns and runs. (1) Peter is so like us, he starts with enthusiasm, loses momentum, does stupid things and then when the pressure comes, he’s outta there. iii. if there is anyone in the Bible accounts who deserves to get a solid B for effort, but a D for persistence, it’s Peter. (1) and I think most of us are just like that. B for effort, D for persistence 3. But used by God a. A transformed person i. but something astonishing happens to Peter, and he is totally transformed (1) the Holy Spirit comes upon all the apostles, and Peter stands and speaks (a) Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! (b) “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. (c) “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” Acts 2:14-15,, 22-24, 36 159 words ii. not with his foot in his mouth this time, but totally transformed iii. so that this unschooled bunch of disciples began to preach with power and passion and persuasiveness (1) When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13 iv. Peter, the bumbling foot in mouth man preached a sermon and over 3000 people became believers in Jesus (1) Those listening were “cut to the heart” (a) they were deeply moved, and it was all down to what the Holy Spirit was doing through Peter (2) even through Peter, the one whom Jesus had identified with Satan back in Mat 16, the one who had denied Jesus and run from the scene. (a) It shows us that the power of God is at work though even the most ordinary of us (3) those who were not schooled, changed thousands in their thinking b. God uses Peter i. and it’s not because they became graduates of Antioch college, or Athens business school (1) it was because God used them (a) he put his Spirit into them, and they changed from those hiding in the upper room - to those taking the gospel to the known world. (2) He took Peter who was too scared to own Christ at the end of the gospel accounts to the preacher, who when confronted with real danger to their lives did this (a) The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. (b) When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. Acts 5:27-30, 33 98 words (3) Not words designed to win friends and influence people. ii. see, Peter was just like us (1) flawed, failing, yet called by Jesus and used to do amazing things iii. probably the most important thing that happens in the book of Acts happens a couple of chapters later (1) Peter comes to the house of a Gentile centurion, and is involved in the first gentiles coming to be Christian (a) “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Acts 10:47–48 (2) This was s huge moment in the New Testament when being Christian moved from being a Jewish Christian, to being anyone who believes and Peter was there, pivotal in the whole event c. despite him being flawed (1) and he hadn’t stopped making mistakes! (i) About 15 years later, Paul and Peter had a dispute 1) When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?Galatians 2:11–14 126 words (2) Peter had once again denied the gospel, and Paul opposed him publicly (3) see, even as an apostle, there were times when Peter didn’t really think about what he was doing (a) didn’t work out the impact of his actions (i) at heart he was still the big fisherman who opened his mouth to change feet (4) but he had been completely changed by his encounter with Jesus and the pouring out of the Spirit 4. Fisherman to Shepherd a. feed my sheep i. and finally we see Simon the Fisherman become Peter the Shepherd ii. at the end of John’s gospel, after the resurrection some of the disciples were down fishing, and there is a miraculous catch of fish, Peter, realising it is Jesus on the shore, jumps out of the boat and somehow gets to sure (1) after eating Jesus challenges Peter (a) When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:15–17 111 words (2) will you become a shepherd Peter - he had been a fisherman all his life iii. will you become a shepherd to look after Jesus’ sheep. (1) And Peter seems to accept the challenge - because he loves Jesus (2) perhaps Jesus challenges him about this three times because he denied Jesus three times, (a) that may be, but Peter was hurt - stung by the memory of his denial (i) and the feeling that Jesus was doubting him - for good reason (b) but Peter accepts the task of shepherding Jesus sheep b. because God uses weak people i. and yet again we see that no matter how weak or unprepared or undeserving we are, God can still use people as he wishes to (1) the failures of Peter didn’t mean that Jesus turned away and offered the task to someone with a better track record. (a) however, God chooses to use the weak things of the world, to shame the strong and show even more his own power ii. that God can take this loose cannon of an uneducated fisherman and use him so pivotally in the Bible story is NOT because of Peter’s brilliance, or training, or degrees, or eloquence, but simply because God chose to use him (a) so if he can use Peter, then God can use us in however he chooses. (2) I remember when I was challenged abt becoming a minister - to preach (a) I was petrified inside, and knew I would be a hopeless preacher, and a useless pastor, because I couldn’t stand speaking up front (3) and I still don’t, I still know that this is not my preferred place to be (a) but God chooses to put me here, and to give me words to say (i) I remember one young man, now a minister in the shire, came to me and asked me if I remembered a sermon series I had given on Ecclesiastes some years before - I did (ii) he then thanked me profusely and said that he had become a Christian during that sermon series because of that. (b) I never expected that, and I know it didn’t have to do with the brilliance of the speaking, because that doesn’t change people (i) only the work of God through the word of God changes people 1) all glory be to God iii. and Peter went on to be a shepherd, and encouraged other elders to be shepherds of God’s flock (a) To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 1Peter 5:1–2 55 words iv. See the humility of the apostle? Not - I Peter, the bishop of Rome (if he ever was that), or Apostle of Christ, or anything like that (1) no - I appeal as a fellow elder…Shepherd God’s flock (a) partly because he knew he would not be there much longer (2) but also because he knew it wasn’t his task only, it was every elders task (a) and he shared in that task to care for God’s flock, the church (3) from a fisherman to a shepherd of men, (a) someone who spent time on his own on a boat, to a man who loved God and people so much he would willingly oppose the authorities and face possible death 5. Just Like Us a. The Reality of Peter i. Peter was a deeply flawed human being ii. he made mistakes, at times he was a bit slow on the uptake (1) he often talked without thinking much, and like many of us, dealt with discomfort or confusion by wanting to find something to do b. Good news for us i. that is, Peter in so many ways was just like us (1) a long way from perfect and at times just a bit thick (a) we can all be like that (2) but the amazing thing is that this didn’t stop God using him (a) • leader of the mission to the gentiles, though he didn’t want to be (b) • the first preacher about Jesus recorded in the New Testament after Jesus’ resurrection (c) • one of the first to oppose the government at the time because he knew that being a Christian was more important than being safe, or being well-respected, or even being free (3) and this towering pillar of Christian example, was just like us (a) and his life was completely transformed.- by the work of God in him through God’s Spirit. And Peter acted iaw his transformed state (i) he understood the great change that had happened to him (4) he had been a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee (a) and becomes someone that did amazing things because God’s Spirit was at work in amazing ways. (b) because being a Christian is not about being an amazing person (i) it’s actually for people who know they aren’t amazing 1) we seem to spend a lot of collective energy in our lives telling each other that we are all OK 2) what we do, and what we think is OK, acceptable, even good (c) but God is quite clear, none of us are OK with him (i) none of us are good, none of us are acceptable. 1) and it’s not until we understand that, and wrestle with it (ii) that we come to understand that being a christian is not about being an awesome person - but about serving an awesome God (iii) and it is because it’s about him and not us, that he can accomplish awesome things through us 1) it just comes with the territory of being someone who loves Christ (d) We all search for significance, we all search for meaning, we all search for our contribution to life, and family and community (i) and it you want that in your life, if you want that sense of significance 1) you won’t find it by pursuing your own significance c. Our true significance i. Peter teaches us that we can have great significance in God’s plans and God’s world, just by being one of his people. (1) then he will use us the way he wants to (a) Is that what you would like? Would you like to have something far greater that your own contribution, but being a conduit for God’s work in the world? (2) then commit to following Christ, commit to feeding his sheep, caring for one another, encouraging one another with the gospel, speaking the words of Scripture to one another, praying for one another and letting the Spirit of Go work though you in the opportunities he gives you. (a) then you will have eternal significance in people’s lives because it won’t actually be you, it will be God at work. (b) CONNECTION CARD PRAYER 6.