PARTNERS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART LXXX
The work of the Holy Spirit, in the life of Peter, was an amazing experience for Peter; just as the work of the Holy Spirit is also a vital lesson for the followers of Christ. We are following Luke’s view of Simon Peter, and may at another time look at Peter in the other three Gospels. Peter’s name was Simon and his father’s name was John; and they made their living in fishing. It was Simon’s brother Andrew who had met Jesus first; and he introduced his brother to Jesus, as the Christ. Jesus renamed Simon by calling him “Kephas,” in the Greek it means “Petros” and in English “Rock” (John 1:40-42). The new name defined Simon’s unchangeable attitude toward any new and/or different belief from his Jewish fundamental orthodoxy. Peter was not a person, who turned away easily from the “traditions of his fathers.” Jesus had to prove to him that He was who He professed to be, and what his brother Andrew said Jesus was. Jesus took the liberty and used a boat to preach from and Peter was not even listening. So, Jesus invited Himself into one of Peter’s boats and made him listen. Then Jesus asked Peter to go fishing again, against Peter’s objection.
While the people pressed upon Jesus to hear the word of God, Jesus was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at you word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him (Luke 5:1-11).
THAT CATCH OF FISH HARVESTED FOUR DISCIPLES, WHO WERE MADE APOSTLES; THREE OF THEM BECAME THE STEADY COMPANIONS OF JESUS
Peter became the first apostle and spokesman for the disciples (Luke 6:14; 8:45). Peter, James, and John Zebeddee were present when Jesus awakened the ruler’s daughter (Luke 8:51-56), They also were present when Jesus had a conference with Moses and Elijah about Jesus exodus or departure (Luke 9:28-36), and all eleven disciples were with Jesus in Gethsemane. Jesus withdrew alone (Luke 22:39-46). It was also Peter who believed that Jesus was the Christ (Luke 9:20).
But Jesus charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Luke 9:21-22).
Jesus did not give his apostles time to respond, but He told them to be prepared to face similar crosses for confessing Him (Luke 9:23-27). When Jesus told the group that they were in charge of the kingdom, and when they asked Jesus whom he had in mind, Peter was unprpared. Therefore, Jesus informed Peter that he was the steward, who would be held accountable for running things, faithfully and orderly (Luke 12:32-48). Peter became perturbed when an eligible ruler was barred from being a member of the “Eternal Kingdom” because he was rich. And Jesus compared the rich man to a camel trying to get through the eye of a needle (Luke 18:18-25).
Those whom heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” And Peter said, “Lo, we have left our homes and followed you.” And Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive manifold more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life” (Luke 18:26-30).
The minds of the disciples were unable to comprehend what Jesus was telling them — what would happen to Him, very shortly. They were on their way to Jerusalem:
And taking the twelve aside, Jesus said to them, “Behold, we are going upto Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of man by the prophets will be accomplished. For He will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon; they will scourge Him and kill Him, and on the third day He will rise.” But the disciples understood none of these things; this saying was hid from them, and they did not grasp what was said (Luke 18:31-34).
THE MELTING OF PETER, “THE ROCK”
Peter’s nightmare began on the night before Christ was crucified, the next day. Satan had joined forces with Judas and the chief priests and scribes to dispose of Jesus before the Passover. The process of the exodus would be a reverse from the day Moses led Israel out of Egypt. In this exodus, the Messiah and Deliverer would be led out of Jerusalem by the Gentiles. Peter and John were sent to meet a guide, who would take them to the upper room where they would have their last meal and instructions (Luke 22:1-13). If the disciples anticipated that their meeting had to do with their deliverance from Rome, then they were in for a surprise. Jesus was puzzling them about things that had nothing to do with taking over Israel and put the disciples in charge. The disciples were thinking, “Who would be chosen as the prime minister or chancellor of King Jesus?”
And when the hour had come, he sat at the table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall never eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, ad when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to the saying, “This is my body. But behold the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of man goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” (Luke 22:14-22).
A dispute also arose among them, which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? But I am among you as one who serves.
You are those who have continued with me in my trials; and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:24-30).
PETER HAD NOT MELTED BUT BECAME BOLDER
It was music to Peter’s ears that the “Kingdom” was going to be theirs, and they, with their King Jesus, would sip wine together. In Peter’s time, as it has become in ours, government was “over the people and not of or for the people.” Tyranny is a demonic idea and harmful to government and people. It was not just Judas, who was betraying the cause of Christ, but also Peter, too, was playing with fire. Jesus warned Peter! However, Peter insisted that he was ready to die for Jesus and the “Kingdom.” Peter did not really know himself! Therefore, Peter had to search his heart and learn to stay alive as a witness of Christ; and not as the head over the nation. The sword was not intended to protect the disciples — the sword was to turn Jesus into a criminal — and Peter did the honor by cutting off an ear of the high priest’s servant (John 18:10). Luke did not identify Peter for safety reasons. Therfore, when John’s Gospel was written, Peter was no longer among the living.
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.” And he said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” He said, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you three times deny that you know me.”
And he (Jesus) said to them, “When I sent you out with no purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them,”But Now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one. For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was reckoned with transgressors’’ for what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, there are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough” (Luke 22:31-38).
ALL ACCORDING TO THE BOOK OF PROPHECY
Luke did research the Hebrew tradition regarding the Messiah in Moses, David, and the Prophets. Jesus was accustomed to go the the Mount of Olives and He made it easy for his enemies to find Him. Judas took the chief priests, the captains of the temple, and the elders to arrest Jesus. And to point Jesus out to the leaders, Judas betrayed Jesus by kissing Him. So that Jesus could be treated as a criminal; Jesus allowed one of his own disciples to cut off an ear of the servant of the high priest. All of the disciples were apprehended; and therefore, Jesus begged for their release in exchange for Himself (John 18:8). The disciples scattered, but Peter followed Jesus at a distance to the high priest’s residence, where he was admitted into the courtyard by a friend (John 18:15-16). Peter was allowed to look in on what was being done to Jesus outside the door, where he was recognized by the maid, and he began to deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed (John 18:15-18). For the third time Peter said:
“Man, I do not know what you are saying.” An immediately, while Peter was still speaking, the cock crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the words of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” And Peter went out and wept bitterly (Luke 22:60-62; 22:39-65).