“Peter built the church on the rock of our faith, his banner over me is love.” I remember the line to this favorite children’s song I learned in Bible school growing up as I sat down to write my weekly Monday morning blog. I have always thought Peter was a really cool figure in the Gospels. I guess because I could really relate to him. He was so passionate, and yet so flawed…so enthusiastic, but then sometimes too impulsive. He walked on water, and then fell into the water and nearly drowned when his faith wavered. He told Jesus that He couldn’t die as planned because it just didn’t make sense to him, but he couldn’t see God’s plan. He told Jesus he would never deny Him, and then when he was afraid, he denied Him three times. And yet, Jesus picked him, Peter, to build the church. Even though Peter had all of those failures and flaws, Jesus never wavered in His faith in him or love for him. Which should be very comforting to the rest of us. We can make mistakes and we will still be forgiven “seventy times seven” times. (and since seven is a number that represents infinity in ancient Jewish times, this means a lot!)
But I think even more importantly, Peter’s story shows us that we can all achieve greatness despite our failures and flaws, if we have unwavering love and faith in Jesus in the long run. We can all start anew like Peter, put aside the guilt and shame of our mistakes and start over, walking the path and purpose God lays for each of us. For some of us, we will be called to do great things like Peter. Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48) and “…whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12) If I stop to reflect on these statements by Jesus, I realize they sound a little scary. I have been given much…and of course I am here on earth to do God’s work while Jesus is still with the Father in heaven. So what great works am I doing, and what will I be asked to do in the future? If Jesus asked me to walk on water to get to Him, I know I would get out of the boat like Peter and try. But do I have enough faith not to turn back when the storms come and the tide gets rough? I guess only time…and my faith despite my failures…will tell.
This week is the Passion week of our Lord. I pray we have the passion of Peter, despite our faults and failures, to keep building the church and following Christ. If Peter could do it…well, so can we!