Earlier this year I started studying the life of Peter in preparation for a series of messages that I gave at Word of Life Florida in February. I started with the basic assumption that Peter is for most people the best-loved and best-known apostle. We know him because the gospels say so much about him, and we love him because we see ourselves in him.
I discovered some things very quickly . . .
No disciple speaks more than Peter.
Jesus speaks to him more than to any other disciple.
No one made a bolder confession.
No one interfered with Jesus more than Peter.
The gospels contain four lists of the apostles. The names vary in order except for this:
Peter always comes first.
Judas always comes last.
As Alexander Whyte remarked, Peter was born a supreme man. He left a deeper footprint in the gospel record than any other apostle. Given to extremes, he was enthusiastic, impulsive, decisive, inquisitive, boastful, easily moved to sorrow, unaware of his own weakness, hasty, headstrong, sometimes wrong but never in doubt.
Whenever Peter shows up, he enters the room with a thud. And because of his impulsive nature, he often got himself in trouble because of what he said. He was the man with the foot-shaped mouth.
And yet Jesus clearly loved him. And the other apostles followed him. Jesus loved him the way we love our rambunctious, trouble making kids. He loved him the way we love our children when they get in trouble. Sometimes we love them even more then.
So far I've given this series four times, including our visit to Bukdinon Seminary in the Philippines in April, and each time God has used it to touch hearts. It seems that Peter still speaks to us after two thousand years. We never tire of hearing his story. This week we're beginning the podcast of the series called Beyond Denial: Seeing Ourselves in Peter's Story. I gave most of the messages at Elim Lodge in Canada with one message coming from Cannon Beach Conference Center in Oregon.
We've just posted the first podcast: A Man Called Peter. We'll post a new message each week until the full series is online.