Jesus chose twelve men to be His disciples. I don’t have their names memorized even though I can recite the names of the Bible and there is 66 of them. Disciples who had less Bible coverage, such as Bartholomew, are hard for me to remember. On the other hand, I have no problem remembering Peter’s name.
Peter’s personality is in stark contrast to mine. Of the twelve, he was the outspoken one. He reminds me of the kid in school who was always raising his hand when the teacher popped a question. I was the one hoping someone like Peter will answer the question or ask the question I wish someone else would ask. He wasn’t one to keep his thoughts to himself. He said what he thought. He was bold and energetic. While I’m a born follower, Peter was a born leader.
One of the stories about Peter occurred after Jesus had fed the multitude of five thousand men plus women and children. Jesus sent his disciples off on a boat. The Lord went up to a mountainside to pray by himself. Now I can relate to Jesus wanting quiet time. Time to myself can be precious when overwhelmed by too much social interaction. This was one of a number occasions where Jesus went off by himself to talk to His Father. He loved His disciples and the multitudes, but He needed to get away from them sometimes to have quiet time with His Father.
When evening came, Jesus returned from the mountain but the disciples were in a boat considerable distance from land. The water was unstable because of the high winds. The disciples were astonished when they saw Jesus coming towards them walking on water. This wasn’t the first time they had witnessed Jesus perform amazing acts, such as changing water into wine or giving sight to the blind, but His walking on water was a new one on them. Were they seeing a ghost? Were they all having the same dream?
Jesus told them to not be afraid. He sought to assure them it was Him and all was well. As Peter often did, he wasted no time in speaking up. He stated if the one walking on water was truly the Lord, tell him to come to Him on the water. Jesus told Peter to come and so he climbed out of the boat.
Peter was walking on water too. He was doing fine until he turned his eyes off Jesus and focused on the wind instead. That’s when he began to sink. He cried out for the Lord to save him. The Lord reached out His hand and caught him. The Lord asked Peter, “Why did you doubt?”
I can’t be hard on Peter. Many a time my attention has been diverted to the wind. I focus on what I can see that can be terribly frightening at times. I identify with the man who cried out to Jesus that he believed, but please help me with my unbelief.
Even though Peter had witnessed time and time again of Jesus performing miracles, he had times of doubt. Peter later denied Christ three times near the end of Jesus’s time on this Earth. He could have wallowed in grief about his denial. He could have done what Judas did and took his life. But instead, by faith, he got up and kept going. The Lord put Peter back to work before He went back to the Father. Peter went on to become a leader in the early church.
What’s important in Peter’s story isn’t that he fell, it’s that the outspoken disciple got up.