Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What Right did Peter Have to Make This Claim?
 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”   Acts 4:12
                                                             
Proven Identity - Shortly after crossing the Sea Jesus asked His disciples the question, “Who do people say that I am?”  The responded that some said Jesus was John the Baptist raised back to life, others Elijah or one of the prophets.  Then Jesus made the question more personal by asking, “Who do you say that I am?”


It was Peter who responded, “You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God.”   Jesus praised Peter noting that God the Father had revealed this to Peter.   We could ask ourselves how, but I think the answer lies in what we’ve been considering – what had already happened had revealed this to Peter, as would events to come.   Peter was sure.  Who do you say Jesus is?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What Right did Peter Have to Make This Claim?
 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”   Acts 4:12

Walking Where No Man has Walked Before  - Matthew chapter 14 describes another crossing of the Sea of Galilee after the second miraculous feeding.  This time the disciples left in the boat by themselves and Jesus remained behind to pray.  Once again we’re told the crossing was difficult as the wind and the waves were against them.   Shortly before morning, they witnessed someone walking on the water and thought it was a ghost, but Jesus told them it was him and to take courage and not be afraid.

Peter replied, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water,” and Jesus did.  Peter, a mere man, actually walked on the water, like Jesus, but then he took his eyes off Jesus and concentrated instead on his immediate circumstances – the wind blowing, and the water getting him wet and he began to sink into the stormy sea, but he managed to say three very significant words, “Lord, save me!”   As Mark is accustomed to describing Jesus’ actions we’re told that “immediately Jesus took hold of him and took him to the boat.”


Peter learned not only what Jesus can enable us to do, but also how He longs for us to say those same three words.  And He’ll be there for us just like He was for Peter.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

What Right did Peter Have to Make This Claim?
 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”   Acts 4:12

Miraculous Feeding – Thousands came to listen to Jesus speak and teach and we’re told of two occasions involving 5,000 and 4,000 men respectively, (the crowds were much larger, but only the number of men present is recorded) were Jesus fed them.   The provisions involved 5 loaves of bread and two fish for the first feeding and 7 loaves and a few small fish for the second.  The disciples were told to pick up what was left from the first feeding, which filled twelve lunch baskets – one for each of the Apostles to also be fed.  The leftovers from the second feeding – 7 large baskets of food!  Michael Card refers to the first miraculous feeding as one of “perfect provision” (just enough for the need at hand) and the second as a “miracle of abundance” (more than enough to meet the need).  These events would have recalled to mind the miraculous way God provided for His people during their 40 year journey to the Promised Land.


Unfortunately, most of the people merely regarded Jesus as a meal ticket, but He desires to be so much more in our lives.  Peter learned that tasks impossible for mere men and not impossible for Jesus.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What Right did Peter Have to Make This Claim?
 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”   Acts 4:12

Treacherous Waters – As a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, Peter was aware of the strong and sudden storms that could arise.  In Mark chapter 4 they are crossing the water and as recorded in verse 37, “and there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.”   Jesus was in the boat sleeping when they woke Him saying, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”


Jesus merely spoke three words, “Hush, be still,” in verse 39 and the “wind died down and it became perfectly calm.”   The disciples reaction is recorded in verse 41,  “And they become very much afraid and they said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey Him?’”   Sometimes I’ve wondered if Jesus’ words “Hush, be still” were to the storm and water or to his marginal followers?  After all, verse 40 records, “And He said to them, ‘Why are you so timid?   How is it that you have no faith?’”  

Peter could probably tell us, but perhaps it’s left open-ended so we could take these questions to heart.  Picture yourself in the boat with the other followers.  What would / should your reaction be?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What Right did Peter Have to Make This Claim?
 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven                 that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”   Acts 4:12

Resurrections - There are several accounts of resurrections in the Gospels, but Peter was one of only 3 apostles to witness a synagogue leader’s daughter being brought back to life in Mark chapter 5.  The reaction Mark records in verse 42 is “And immediately they were completely astounded.”  The other is recorded in the Gospel of John, chapter 11 where Jesus knew that a close friend was very sick.  The message to that end was received from Lazarus’ sisters but Jesus chose to delay going to the home for two days, so by the time He and the apostles arrived Lazarus had died and had been buried for four days.  In fact Jesus tells His disciples in verse 14b-15, “Lazarus is dead and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe…”.   In greeting one of Lazarus grieving sisters He tells her, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me shall live even if He dies.” (verse 25).   A very strong statement considering how long Lazarus had been in the grave.   But all Jesus did was simply cry out (verse 43), “Lazarus, come forth,” and he did.


Peter witnessed first-hand someone who exercised power over death and he knew Jesus was someone worth following and listening to.  In verse 45 we’re told, “Many therefore of the Jews, who had come to Mary and beheld what He had done, believed in Him.”  What about you?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What Right did Peter Have to Make This Claim?
 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven                 that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”   Acts 4:12

Demons Fear & Obey – In the Gospel of Mark chapter 5 verses 1-20, Peter has just finished taking Jesus across the Sea of Galilee when a demon possessed man approaches the boat.  We’re provided details that this man lives among the tombs, has often been bound to be restrained but broke the chains, and constantly cried out and had self-inflicted wounds.   Here is a man who knows no peace, who when asked by Jesus what the name of the demon is, is told “Legion; for we are many.”


Jesus told the demons to leave the man and they obeyed him.  Peter and those who knew the man now observed him sitting down quietly, clothed, in his right mind, and perhaps for the first time in his life, knowing peace.  Instead of a life causing fear and terror, he left proclaiming to people in the region the great things Jesus had done for him and everyone marveled.  Like Peter, here was a man whose life was radically and dramatically changed.             

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Right did Peter Have to Make This Claim?
 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven                 that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”   Acts 4:12

His Calling – Peter was a fisherman by trade.  The Gospel of Luke chapter 5 verses 1-11 describe how after fishing all night and catching nothing, Jesus instructed him to put his nets out into the deep water only to have the nets filled with fish to the point that the nets began to break.  We’re told Peter’s reaction involved amazement, fear, and falling down at the feet of Jesus saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”   Jesus responded, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.”


And Peter left the fish, the boat, his profession – everything and followed Jesus.  And he was with Jesus during the entire time of his public ministry, so we have the reliability of an eye-witness.