Peter – Focused Faith
You are God and i am not. I say this out loud and quietly to my inner self often because I have to. I need to always be aware that I cannot be God, do what God does or have the wisdom He has. I need Him. He does not need me. Realizing this keeps me humble before the God of all. Knowing this internally helps me to relax when changes are to be made in me and to let it happen. Knowing this helps me see others a bit more clearly with understanding because I am just as needy in God’s eyes. Be still and know God. Be still and know. Be still. Be.
Peter is a breath of fresh air as we begin reading what God put on his heart to write to all of us, then and now. Eugene Peterson writes,
“Peter’s concise confession–‘You are the Messiah, the Christ’–focused the faith of the disciples on Jesus as God among us, in person, carrying out the eternal work of salvation.”
In the early church, Peter’s influence was enormous and acknowledged by all. By virtue of his position, he was easily the most powerful figure in the Christian community. And his energetic preaching, ardent prayer, bold healing and wise direction confirmed the trust placed in him.
The way Peter handled himself in that position of power is even more impressive than the power itself. He stayed out of the center, didn’t “wield” power, maintained a scrupulous subordination to Jesus. Given his charismatic personality and well-deserved position at the head, he could easily have taken over, using the prominence of his association with Jesus to promote himself. He did not. That he didn’t do it, given the frequency with which spiritual leader do exactly that is impressive. Peter is a breath of fresh air.
These two letters of Peter, which we will pour over and learn from exhibit the qualities of Jesus that the Holy Spirit shaped in him:
–a readiness to embrace suffering rather than prestige
–wisdom developed from experience and not imposed from a book
–a humility that lacked nothing in vigor or imagination.
From what we know of the early stories of Peter, he had in him all the makings of a bully. That he didn’t become a bully (and religious bullies are the worst kind, believe me) but rather the boldly confident and humbly self-effacing servant of Jesus Christ that we discern in these letters, is a compelling witness to what he himself describes as “a brand-new life, with everything to live for.” Wow. Just wow.
Excited? I am.
Dear Heavenly Father,
As we begin to study the letters of Peter, we are really learning about You. You are God and we are not. You are Messiah, the Christ who changed everything. We have a brand new life because of your work on that cross of sin bearing. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Continue to transform us into all you intended for us to be…and then do.
In Jesus Name, Amen
1 Peter 1, The Message
1-2 I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours!