The Principles of Peter

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Today was definitely an interesting day. I wouldn’t say it was overly exciting or full of intrigue and mystery, but it wasn’t dull and boring either. The most interesting part was Gym class, playing basketball. We were at Bethel Baptist Church, which has a gym approximately the size of my thumb (slight exaggeration there), so we had ten people on the court at a time trying not to run over each other to get the ball. It was more of a massacre than anything else, since no one was really playing “basketball” in the traditional sense. Since the gym was so small, it was more of a “throw the ball all the way down while everyone else tries to intercept it, then do the same” kind of game. Still fun, but nowhere near real basketball, which we’ll roughly be playing at the tournament tomorrow. It’s obvious that most people on both the guy’s and girl’s teams have never played basketball, because half of them have no clue about travelling or double-dribbling, let alone more “complex” concepts such as up-and-down or over-and-back. I think they’re more focused on trying to dribble the ball or look for an open person (even if the person’s on the other team) to worry about concepts like that.

Anyways, as long as we have fun at the basketball tournament, that’s all that really matters. Mr. Gillmore hasn’t put any pressure on the teams at all to win; he’s just told us to do our best and have some fun. Considering that there’s only four teams each in the two pools, all we basically have to do is win one game or something, and we’re in the playoffs. I don’t think it’s that likely that we’ll win even one game, but I wouldn’t start placing bets against us either. Whatever. Enough about basketball.

Let me get onto the subject I’ve been thinking about for the past little while and about which I’ve already written two blog entries. Today in English class, the journal topic was “Who I Would Most Like to be in the Easter Story.” For the fourth year in a row, I mentioned that who I would like to be and who I would be in actuality would be totally different. For instance, although I would certainly like to be Mary Magdalene, the first person to see the resurrected Lord, or someone like that, I doubt that I would be her (besides the obvious difference in gender). I went on to explain how I would likely be like the Romans, or Judas, or perhaps Peter. The more I sat there and thought about the characteristics of those people, the more I began to see the similarities between Peter and myself.

You see, Peter had a reputation for speaking before he thought. During the Last Supper, He told Jesus that he would never desert Jesus, even if he had to die with Him. Jesus went on and said that Peter would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. Of course, Peter didn’t believe Jesus, and as the story goes, it ended up becoming true. I thought of the similarities between that and my own life. Peter must have felt disgusted with himself at the moment the rooster crowed. The Bible says he went away, crying bitterly. I mean, here he went and promised Jesus that he would remain faithful to Him even if everyone else deserted Him, and he went and failed the One he loved so much. Jesus even told him ahead of time what was going to happen, and he still ended up doing it. If I were him, I would have felt disgusted inside, like I had physically gone up to Jesus and spit on Him in the face. And yet, here I am, continually telling myself that “this time I’ll do better for the God that I love,” and I fail Him also. I feel a lot like Peter must have felt at that time, an utter disgust with the sin that I had committed, even while being in full knowledge of the right thing to do.

So there I sat in English class, feeling dejected. But fortunately, I remembered that the story doesn’t end there. Later, after Jesus’ resurrection, He appears to several of the disciples, among them Peter. Then three times, Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. You see, Jesus forgives Peter for all three times that he rejected Jesus. He understood that humans fail because they are imperfect, and His infinite, perfect love covered over Peter’s mistakes. And there I sat, floored by what God had just shown me. This all happened in my head within a minute or two, and yet it was as real as if I had actually been Peter. In that moment I felt God’s forgiveness, something I haven’t felt so real in a long time. I had been getting down on myself because I was praying for forgiveness to what seemed like a brick wall, and then failing again for what seemed a lack of response. But now I can truly say that I realize that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

So now I feel pretty stupid for it having taken me that long just to realize what I’ve known all along. But oh well. At least God is patient with me, or I’d have been swallowed up into the earth long ago.

2 responses to “The Principles of Peter”

Derek

Like I said already, you don’t need to ask for forgiveness. It’s good practice to apologize, for ethical reasons – but not necessary for God’s forgiveness to happen.

As an interesting note – I was intrigued when you mentioned Peter. The name actually means, “rock” … which has basically two uses in the Bible. Either rock is contrasted to flesh (ie, a heart of stone contrasted to a heart of flesh) … or it is contrasted to the shifting sand.

The heart of stone usually comes first … then the Bible goes on to compare Peter to a solid foundation. Just a bit of an encouragement for ya.. 🙂

Jeff

Thanks for all the help man. I mean, we don’t even know each other, but since I suppose we’re going to have to spend eternity together, might as well start now, right? Heh, it’s awesome thinking about how we’ve got brothers and sisters all over the world, some that don’t even speak the same language as us. Awesome thought.

Anyways, I won’t say that I’m out of the woods with this yet, but I’m working on reminding myself of God’s grace. I know I don’t have to ask for forgiveness to be forgiven, because it’s already been forgiven two thousand years ago. Somehow I lost sight of that fact, though, so thanks for the reminder. Thanks for the help, bro 😉

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