Monday, November 12, 2007

Are You A Doubter / Denier?

I am always kind of fascinated by Peter (ie. I think I am somewhat like him). Peter left everything and followed Jesus. He was amazed as He watched Jesus teach and heal. He saw miracles happen right before His very eyes. He saw Jesus heal a man with leprosy, he saw Him heal the man with the withered hand, he heard the Beattitudes straight from the mouth of God, he saw Jesus raise the widow's son from the dead, he saw demons cast into pigs, he saw Jesus heal the woman with the issue of blood, and he saw Jairus' daughter brought back to life--and those are just a few of the miracles Simon Peter watched Jesus perform. Peter was actually there in the flesh when history was made. He saw it with his own eyes - his faith WAS sight (can't wait for my faith to become sight, how 'bout you?).

There are two stories about Peter that puzzle me. The first is when Peter and the disciples were out fishing and weren't catching any fish. Luke 5:5-7 tells us that "Simon said, "Master, we've been fishing hard all night and haven't caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I'll let out the nets." It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch". In other words, Peter told Jesus, 'We have been fishing on our own all night and haven't caught anything, but I will let the nets down again if you say so'. Do you hear a note of doubt in his words? He had been fishing all night and had not caught one fish, so he didn't really believe that Jesus would be of any help. Peter knew in his heart that Jesus had the power to do ANYTHING, but his mind caused him to doubt. Oh how much like Peter I am. I know that Jesus can do anything in my heart, but my intellectual side causes me to doubt Him time and again.

The funny thing about this particular story is that even though Peter doubted Jesus he obeyed. Peter focused on the command and not the promise. Peter doubted, but he obeyed and his nets came back full to overflowing. If only I could be more like that. Even when my mind causes me to doubt, I need to obey in order to get the blessing. What a great reminder this is for me today! Thank you Lord for letting me open up Your word to the book of Luke!

The other story about Peter that puzzles me is over in Luke 22, where Peter denies Christ. In Luke 22:31-32 Jesus basically tells Peter that his faith is going to fail. Then Peter says (my paraphrase) 'Lord, I would go to jail for you or even DIE for you' (ironic, huh?). At which time Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Him three times that very day. This same Simon Peter who had seen all the miracles and had listened to all the teaching, would deny that he even knew who Jesus was. The same Peter who cut the ear off the soldier who wanted to arrest Jesus is now saying "Jesus? Nope, don't know him". Amazing.

I hate to admit it, but I have so much 'Simon' in me. I have seen God do wondrous things in my life and in the lives of others, yet I still doubt Him. God has blessed me until my nets have almost broken, yet I still question His ways. Oh, I may never have actually said to someone 'I don't know Jesus' like Peter did, but my actions sometimes might say just that to others who don't really know me. I suppose Simon Peter's actions puzzle me so because I see so much of myself in him. I pray that like Peter in that boat, I will focus on God's commands and do what He asks every time. Unlike Peter (before the resurrection), I want to know God's power and presence in my heart AND in my head. I never want to be a 'doubter or denier'. Never.


Fran said...

Yes. I can be more of a doubter.
I just sometimes wish I could call Him up and see what He's up to and how things are going and how that might effect my life!!! Doesn't work that way though does it?!

But, that is the definition of faith in Hebrews 11. May our faith be full at all times.

I hope you had a wonderful birthday weekend and your faith in Jesus has been through the roof!!

Earen said...

What a great post! I can definitely relate to that. Sometimes I too know that God can do so much & yet I take matters into my own hands which is denying what God can do - and then what happens is that I messed it all up anyway! I often pray that I would always be strong & stand firm for Him...never doubting or denying Him.

Alana said...

I struggle with this often! You are not alone. I like what you said that even though Peter doubted, he still obeyed. That gives me hope.

I'm Tara. said...

I just read a little story tonight to Mitchell about Gideon and how he asked God for a sign to show him that he would have victory in a battle. He got EXACTLY what he asked for and then basically said "Uh, God? Don't be mad, but how about ONE MORE little sign for me so I'm *really* sure." Did God get mad? Nope. Gave him the sign.

I totally get that. Sometimes I just need to be assured. And reassured. And sometimes re-reassured.

I love this post, and as usual am inspired by your beautiful heart for the Lord.

He Knows My Name said...

it was a sermon 2 years ago in july to be exact that one of our pastors, who happens to be the chaplain of the detroit tigers baseball team, preached a sermon on this exact passage.

he brought out the point that peter obeyed. he allowed a charpenter to tell a fisherman how to fish. his obedience brought about blessing.

i really stirred us both but for my husand it stirred him to baptisim. he was baptised last november at age 49. it was such a special moment for us both. needless to say this passage has a special spot in our lives.

love ~janel