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Discover the Book - Mar. 17, 2009

  • 2009 Mar 17

Meeting Peter the Apostle

As we open to the Book of Mark, we open to the words of Mark capturing the experiences of Peter.

The Gospel by Mark is the premier book of God's Word about hope - hope for a new start, hope for complete forgiveness, hope in the God of the 2nd chance. And no one knew that better than Peter.  

There was a man called Peter, who knew Jesus better than any other human on earth ever did. Next to Christ no one in the New Testament is mentioned by name more than Peter!  

  • No one ever was honored like Peter. "Thou art Peter – and upon this rock…” (Matthew 16.18)  
  • No one was ever rebuked as sharply as when Jesus called Peter a tool of Satan. “Get thee behind me Satan…” (Matthew 16.23)  
  • No one ever claimed greater loyalty to Christ as did Peter “though all others may – I NEVER will!” (Mark 14.31)  
  • No one ever denied Jesus like Peter. Not once, not twice – but three times. “I know not the man” (Matthew 26.74)  
  • No one ever was more totally smitten by his or her sin in the sight of Jesus like Peter. “Then Jesus looked at him” (Luke 22.61)  
  • No one ever grieved more completely than Peter – for no one ever knew Jesus better, or loved Him more, or for that matter, wanted His approval MORE than Peter. “He wept bitterly” (Luke 22.62)  
  • Finally – no one was ever restored more tenderly and completely than Peter. “Feed my lambs” (John 21.15-17)  

And what was the result?  Perhaps the greatest life ever lived for the Glory of God.

If there is ever a person that shows the love of Jesus, the compassion of Jesus, the patience of Jesus, the forgiveness of Jesus, the restoring power of Jesus, and the empowerment for ministry that Jesus can give – it is Peter!  

This morning we will examine the man behind this Gospel, a man named Peter.  

In his book Quiet Talks on Service, S. D. Gordon gives an imaginary account of Jesus' return to heaven after His ascension. As the angel Gabriel greets Jesus he asks,  

“Master, You died for the world, did You not?” to which the Lord replies, “Yes.” “You must have suffered much,” the angel says; and again Jesus answers, “Yes.” “Do they all know that you died for them?” Gabriel continues. “No. Only a few in Palestine know about it so far,” Jesus says. “Well, then, what is Your plan for telling the rest of the world that You shed Your blood for them?” Jesus responds, “Well, I asked Peter and James and John and Andrew and a few others if they would make it the business of their lives to tell others. And then the ones that they tell could tell others, and they in turn could tell still others, and finally it would reach the farthest corner of the earth and all would know the thrill and power of the gospel.” “But suppose Peter fails? And suppose after a while John just doesn’t tell anyone? And what if James and Andrew are ashamed or afraid? Then what?” Gabriel asks. “I have no other plans,” Jesus is said to have answered; “I am counting entirely on them”  

And after all that responsibility placed upon the disciples, after three years of training, after all the absolute confirmations of Christ's power – Peter, the leader of the Twelve denies that he ever even knew Jesus. He becomes a complete failure. Is Peter unique? No!  

Apart from the brief ministry of His own Son, the history of God’s work on earth is the history of His using the unqualified. The twelve disciples who became apostles were no exception. From the human standpoint they had few characteristics or abilities that qualified them for leadership and service. Yet God used those men, just as He did Noah, Abraham, and the others, in marvelous ways to do His work.  

God picks normal people and pours His grace on them. Satan wants our sins and failures to convince us to give up. But one look at the people of the Bible should defeat that temptation. The work of God is performed by weak individuals like us, surrendered to the God whose power is perfected in man’s weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). God has always had only weak and sinful humans to work with. . .

PETER: The Three Stages of His Life  

Peter, the hasty, headlong, speaking impertinently and unadvisedly, ready to repent, ever wading into waters too deep for him, and ever turning to his Master again like a little child.  Peter the greatest of the apostles. Peter is our study this morning. An overview of the Life of Peter would have three parts. Each of the eras of his life speak of his love for Jesus.

  1. In the Gospel of Mark we have Peter WALKING WITH JESUS.
  1. In the Book of Acts 1-12 we have Peter WORKING FOR JESUS.
  2. And in 1st and 2nd Peter we have Peter WAITING FOR JESUS to the end of his life.  

WALKING WITH JESUS in the Gospels   Peter’s gospel is our gospel - etched on our hearts, as are some of His most memorable words!  

No disciple speaks so often as Peter. Listen to these words and think of how they so remind us of the man who just could never get enough time in Christ's Presence.  

Oh how Peter longed to walk with Jesus. Can’t you feel his passion – I call them “Peter’s Top 20” – the unmistakable footprints of a man who wanted Jesus with every ounce of his being!

  • Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.  (Luke 5.8)
  • Lo, we have left all and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore? (Mark 10.28; Luke 18.28)
  • Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall never be to Thee. (Matthew 16.22)
  • Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water. (Matthew 14.28)
  • Lord, save me. (Matthew 14.30)
  • The crowd press Thee, and how sayest Thou, Who touched me? (Luke 8.45)
  • Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16.16; Mark 8.29)
  • To whom can we go but unto Thee?  Thou hast the words of eternal life.  (John 6.68)
  • Lord, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. (Mark 9.5; Luke 9.33)
  • How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?  (Matthew 18.21)
  • Thou shalt never wash my feet. (John 13.8)
  • Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. (John 13.9)
  •  Though all men deny Thee, yet will not I.  (Mark 14.31)
  • I know not the man. (Matthew 26.74; Mark 14.71; Luke 22.60)
  • I go a fishing  (John 21.3)
  • Lord, Thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love Thee.  (John 21.15-17)
  • Silver and Gold have I none (Acts 3.6)
  • Neither is there salvation in any other! (Acts 4.12)
  • Not so, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.  (Acts 10.14)
  • Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us; what was I that I could withstand God? (Acts 11.17)   


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