A Fisherman’s Encounter with Jesus (Part 2)
In the previous article I shared 4 ways Peter’s life was changed when he encountered Jesus. You can read it here. This wasn’t a brief encounter either. It was an encounter that transformed Peter’s life from a fisherman to being a close follower of Jesus.
As we encounter Jesus in a real and personal way, may it drive us to know him and follow him. We conclude this 2 part story of a fisherman to learn of 4 more ways that Jesus’ presence impacted Peter’s life.
The Story Continues
Even though Peter is considered one of Jesus’ closest followers he didn’t always understand or see things the way Jesus did. Jesus had to call him out and confront him for it.
“From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.
But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”
Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”Matthew 16:21-23
An encounter with Jesus will include being confronted when we are not aligned with God’s views.
As we spend time with Jesus and in God’s word we will be confronted to examine ourselves. As we read God’s words we will gain a better understanding of God’s will. We will learn when there are things in our life that are not aligned with the things of God, and be convicted to correct this.
In fact, often what Jesus asks us to do is not always easy. In this same chapter in Matthew, Jesus goes on to explain to Peter and the disciples:
“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”Matthew 16:24-26
An encounter with Jesus will come at a cost.
Jesus says “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” This is a backwards way of thinking in terms of how the world looks at things. It is often the reason so many people can’t follow Jesus. But once again when we learn to see things from God’s perspective, we understand we have much more to gain, by giving up the things of this world to follow Jesus.
As the time of Jesus’ death drew near, he continued to warn his disciples about what will happen to him, and that many of them will even desert him.
After Peter heard this, he declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.”Matthew 26: 33-35
Just as Jesus predicted, after Jesus was arrested and he was taken before the counsel, Peter denied Jesus three times.
After denying Jesus a third time, the rooster crowed and suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.Matthew 26:75
An encounter with Jesus doesn’t exclude us from denying him and/or sinning.
Even as we get to know Jesus and have a relationship with him, following Jesus will not always be the popular choice. There will often be a temptation to go with the crowd and deny him. There will be many times when we choose our own way instead of Jesus’. When we go outside the will of God, when we disobey him, we are sinning. It is in following Jesus we can learn how to obey the things he taught us, and how to have a right relationship with him.
Thankfully the story doesn’t end there for Peter or for us.
After Jesus died on the cross, he was buried, and on the third day came back to life. On the day Jesus rose from the dead, some women went to his tomb.
“As they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.
When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth,who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”Mark 16:4-7
Later Jesus did appear to his disciples including Peter.
Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”m“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.”John 21: 15-17
In this conversation between Jesus and Peter we see Jesus command Peter to “feed my lambs, take care of my sheep, feed my sheep.” Sheep is often used as a metaphor for God’s people, or the church. If we remember in a past conversation between Jesus and Peter, Jesus tells Peter “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” (Matthew 16:18). Even after Peter’s denial, Jesus still invites him to be his follower, and restates his purpose for him.
An encounter with Jesus brings restoration
In this encounter with Jesus, Peter was restored to be one of Jesus’ followers after his denial. Which means that even after our sin and mistakes Jesus still offers us forgiveness. Jesus also restored Peter’s purpose. Ephesians 2:10 tells us “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” When we encounter Jesus in a way that we choose to follow him, we have a purpose. Something we were created to do. When we walk away from God, we deny our purpose. But when our relationship with God is restored – so is our purpose.
To hear more of what happened to Peter, you can read through the book of Acts. You will see how God used Peter and other followers of Jesus to spread the Good News to other nations, and establish his church. Remember they were ordinary people just like you an me. As a follower of Jesus you too are part of this story.
Have you encountered Jesus in such a way that it has transformed your life, and helped you see your purpose, and your part in the greater story of His church?