Tag Archives: Peter

Through the Bible, August 13

Reading: John 21

Summary: John finishes his gospel with the account of a resurrection of Jesus found only in his Gospel, which is typical. Ample space is devoted to the restoration of the broken relationship of Peter with Jesus—such a stark contrast to Judas’ failed response to his own failure.

Devotional Thought:

What’s My Job?

Sometimes a person can take on more responsibility than is really theirs. We try to fix the world. We try to correct the mistakes of others.  We want everyone else to be just as we are.

Now it is true that we do have the responsibility to “reprove” the unfruitful deeds of darkness and restore any brother who may be caught in any transgression (Eph. 5:11; Gal. 6:1).  Our highest priority and greatest good, though, is much simpler.

After Jesus spoke directly to Peter about his future Peter wanted to know about John and what would happen with him. In essence, Jesus told Peter not to worry about John but take care of his own responsibility.  “Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!’” (John 21:22).

There is it. Our greatest responsibility is to follow Jesus.  It’s so easy for our attention and interest and concern to be focused on lots of other people and in all kinds of directions.  Really, it should only be for one thing; that I follow Jesus.

Through the Bible, July 15

Reading: Matthew 16-17

Summary: Two crucial events dominate chapters 16 and 17.  First is Peter’s confession of Jesus as being the Son of God.  This event plays a critical role in this Gospel as Matthew shows that people thought quite highly of Jesus, yet of critical importance was his true identity as the very Son of God, not just a prophet or some great spiritual leader. Equally vital was that His disciples come to grips with the fact that Jesus would indeed die.  His work on earth involved His death, though at this time the disciples did not understand.

The second crucial event is the transfiguration of chapter 17.  So much needed to be shaped and corrected about the disciples’ understanding of Jesus as the Messiah and the role He must play.  That certainly involved knowing the correct relationship between Him and the Law and the Prophets—as represented by the presence of Moses and Elijah.  The importance of this event is emphasized by the interjection of the audible voice of God.

Devotional Thought:

God Is Not Obliged

I like God, no, I love God.  To say I’m impressed with Him and His Son would be a huge understatement.  Consequently, I want to show my admiration and appreciation for Him and to Him.  I want to honor Him and praise Him.  I want Him to know not only what I feel about Him, but how strongly I feel that way.

What should I do?

Maybe I think it does not matter what I do as long as I do something and do it sincerely. Maybe I think that God is just happy with my attitude and knows how I feel and whatever I wish to offer to Him as a means of giving expression to my strong feelings is wonderful to Him.

I would probably think that if it weren’t for Peter’s experience on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17).  He was so overwhelmed by what He saw: the brilliantly transformed Jesus shining as bright as the sun and the appearance of two of the foremost figures in Israel’s history—Moses and Elijah.  He could hardly contain himself and suggested three tabernacles be constructed right on that spot, not only to commemorate these great men, but the event he, James, and John had just witnessed.  What a marvelous idea!

That’s when God spoke up.  That in itself should arrest our attention—any time God spoke audibly for men to hear is a highly noteworthy occasion.  He stopped Peter dead in his tracks.  No doubt the impetuous apostle’s sentiment was appreciated, but it was misdirected.  A physical monument was not the kind of thing God was interested in.  What would most appropriately express adoration and praise would be to listen to Jesus above all others and above all else.

God is not obliged to receive our self-devised, tradition bound, innovative means of honoring Him.  We are, however, obliged to listen to His Son.

My Delight is the Lord, December 21

Do You Love Me?

December 21, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: John 21:15-24

Peter sounds a little exasperated after Jesus asks him for the third time–and he’s already responded in the affirmative twice–if the impetuous disciple loved Him. “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (v. 17). Peter was correct, wasn’t he? Jesus does know all things, including our love for Him. But wait, Jesus didn’t change His response. It wasn’t “You’re right. I already know.” It was,  “Feed my sheep” (v. 17). There is more to loving the Lord than what is in our heart. The confirmation of our love for the Lord doesn’t come from his all-knowing awareness of what we feel toward him. It comes from us and what we do (or don’t do). As Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15).

Questions to Ponder:

  • What did Jesus mean by, “more than these”? (v. 15)
  • How was Peter to feed/tend Jesus’ sheep/lambs? (vv. 15, 16, 17)
  • What would Peter do in his death? (v. 19)
  • What is our ultimate, individual responsibility (v. 22)

My Delight is the Lord, December 14

Like Peter

December 14, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: John 21:1-14

I am like Peter in many ways. Here’s one; he went fishing and caught nothing. I pray that I am like him in what followed next in this incident. After an unsuccessful night on the Tiberias Sea, Jesus appears on the shore the following morning and says to cast their nets “on the right side of the boat” (v. 6). Why should they? Their experience tells them that this would be a futile exercise. Their frustrated emotions (I know how it feels to fish a long time and catch nothing) were not inclined to taking fishing advice from a carpenter. Still, “they cast it [their net]” (v. 6). That, by itself, is powerful (the miraculous catch that follows notwithstanding). When all else appears to argue to the contrary, will I still do as Jesus says? Oh, how I long to be more like Peter.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What do Peter’s actions in v. 7 say about him?
  • Why did Jesus feed the disciples breakfast?
  • What are the “miracles” in this event?
  • What does John say is the point of all of this? (v. 14)

My Delight is the Lord, November 26

Hostile Environment

November 26, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: Acts 12

In the face of persecution, the Jerusalem church prayed. They did not protest. They did not picket and form political action committees. They did not stand on a platform of human rights to decry violations. True, they did not live under a representative form of government devoted to freedom as do we. Our present day avenues for response are much broader than theirs, but they are not any better. In our quest to defend and promote a philosophy of human government we deem much preferable to other alternatives, let us not mistakenly think that the kingdom of our Lord in any way needs the support and help and protection of any kingdom of men. The infant church not only survived but thrived in a hostile environment. They knew what they needed and sought it. Do we today truly understand what we need?

Questions to Ponder:

  • What motivated Herod to apprehend Peter? (vv. 2-3)
  • What is significant about the fact that Peter was sleeping? (v. 6)
  • Where had the church gathered to pray? (v. 12)
  • What role do angels play in this chapter?

My Delight is the Lord, November 19

Personal Piety Fails

November 19, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: Acts 10:1-11:18

Imagine an angel telling you that God has taken notice of how good you are. Wow!  He honors your religious activity and your generous service to others. That is mighty high praise and is exactly what Cornelius received (vv. 1-4). But that is not where this story ends. As this centurion later recounted this conversation, he was instructed to send for Peter who would explain the Lord’s command (v. 33). Get this: Cornelius’ personal piety was not sufficient to be right with God. God liked that in this man, but He wanted from him what He wants from us all–as Peter would explain–that we would fear God and do what is right (v. 35). As Jesus Himself said it, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21).

Questions to Ponder:

  • How is Cornelius described? (10:2)
  • What is similar about Saul’s and Cornelius’ experience?
  • Was Cornelius already aware of Jesus? (10:36-38)
  • To what do the prophets bear witness? (10:43)

My Delight is the Lord, October 28

By What Power?

October 28, Friday: God’s Story (1)

Scripture Reading: Acts 4

Peter makes a critical connection for us. Having been asked by the religious authorities following the healing of a man 40-years-old and lame since birth, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”, he said it was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (vv. 7, 10). He then proceeded to say, for there is salvation in no one else, “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (v. 12). The power/name that heals the lame is the same power/name that saves the lost. The power that can do the former can certainly do the latter. And so, indeed, this is this name upon which we call to be saved (Acts 2:21). And this miracle (among others) proves it.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What annoyed the Sadducees? (v. 2)
  • What did the rulers perceive about Peter and John? (v. 13)
  • What did the rulers confess about what had happened? (v. 16)
  • For what did the apostles pray in response to being threatened? (v. 29)

My Delight is the Lord, October 22

Attention to Jesus

October 22, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: Acts 3

Peter wanted to know why the multitude was staring at him and John (v. 12). Well, an amazing thing had just been done and everyone knew it. This well known, ever-present, congenitally lame man was remarkably doing what no one had ever seen him do–walking, leaping, and praising God (v. 8). What is more, it all happened as a result of what Peter and John had said. These witnesses were “utterly astounded” (v. 11). Don’t miss what happened next. The apostles had what everyone seems to want–the people’s attention. Think of it; advertisers, hucksters, celebrities, politicians, retailers, power brokers, etc., etc. all want the same thing–the attention of the masses. Peter and John had it and here’s what they did with it; diverted it from themselves and directed it toward Jesus, His death and resurrection (vv. 11-16). Given our self-idolizing culture, that seems nearly as miraculous as the miracle. But really, that’s what we should all be about always–directing attention to Jesus.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Why did Peter and John go to the temple? (v. 1)
  • What filled the people who saw the lame man walk? (v. 10)
  • How is Jesus described in vv. 14-15?
  • What did Peter say these people must do? (v. 19)

My Delight is the Lord, October 21

Call on God’s Name

October 21, Friday: God’s Story (1)

Scripture Reading: Acts 2

Peter’s famous sermon on Pentecost contained much familiar language. He quoted freely from Joel and various Psalms. One phrase in particular is quite noteworthy. At the end of the Joel quotation, he cited, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (v. 21). That’s one of those staple statements of Scripture repeated numerous times in both Testaments; we must call on the name of the Lord (see Gen. 5:26; 12:8; 26:25; 1 Kings 18:24; Joel 2:32; Rom. 10:13; 1 Cor. 1:2). We dare not miss its meaning. Just as Peter clarified the multitude’s misunderstanding about what was happening that day (some thought the apostles drunk, v. 13) by explaining it was what Joel had prophesied, so too we get clarification about calling on the name of the Lord. When the crowd later asked what they should do (v. 37), Peter told them what calling on the name of the Lord looked like under this newly initiated covenant; “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (v. 38).

Questions to Ponder:

  • To what was the miraculous phenomenon audibly and visibly likened? (vv. 2-3)
  • Was the miracle that the people could hear in their language? (v. 4)
  • What nations were represented that day in Jerusalem? (vv. 9-11)
  • Are David’s writings to be understood exclusively as songs/poetry (Psalms)? (v. 30)

My Delight is the Lord, August 9

My Effort and God’s

August 9, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: 2 Peter 1:3-15

God’s divine power and my every effort–that’s really no contest is it? The one is without any limit and the other is bound by so many constraints; the infinite and quite finite. What can I do that God cannot? What lies beyond His capacity that I can fulfill? It is ludicrous to even ask such things. But notice how these two are brought together and God’s own might is not intended to exclude, but rather to include, us. His “divine power” has granted to us everything we need (v. 3). Is there anything left for us? Surprisingly, yes. We are told to “make every effort” to supplement our faith (v. 5). Certainly our role has nothing to do with filling up any shortcoming in what God has done. The only possible explanation that we would have any part to play is that God has so designed and intended for it to be. If God has made a place for my effort, then I should withhold none of it.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Through what has God granted to us all that pertains to life and godliness? (v. 3)
  • Through what are we able to become partakers of the divine nature? (v. 4)
  • What does the presence and growth of these qualities prevent? (v. 8)
  • In what way will entrance into the eternal kingdom be richly provided? (v. 11)