Theme of the Week: Bible Reading
Bible Verse: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 1:1
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 5:12
Think of a man you know who has a blue-collar job. Someone who speaks his mind. Brave and impetuous enough to take on a dare that risks his life. Willing to challenge authority. Cusses when you push his buttons too much. He’s a rough and tumble kind of guy, willing to get into a fight if necessary. Even he’ll acknowledge that he’s got some rough edges. Maybe you’re thinking of yourself.
Then imagine years later, this man creates a video that goes viral. You watch it. He’s talking about submission to others, suffering righteously, and serving Jesus. He’s telling people to love one another deeply and from the heart, and to greet one another with a kiss of love.
“Is this the same guy? He’s changed so much. What happened to him?”
This is the extraordinary story of the apostle Peter. Jesus “happened” to him. Peter left his life as a fisherman to follow Jesus. But Peter didn’t change overnight. Like all of us, he had good and bad qualities. Among the twelve disciples, he was the most outspoken.
He asked Jesus to let him walk on water. He challenged Jesus, taking his leader aside and rebuking Him for declaring His impending death. Peter swore furiously at a girl as he denied Jesus a third time. He showed his bravery (and perhaps poor decision-making) when he tried to defend Jesus – he chopped off a man’s ear. When Jesus called Peter to follow Him, Peter was confronted with his own shortcomings, and cried out, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8).
All that time spent with Jesus was certainly not wasted. Peter didn’t learn in a straight line. None of us do. But everything clicked when the Holy Spirit came upon him and the other apostles at Pentecost. You may remember the rest – Peter preached boldly, winning thousands to Christ. He healed many and even raised Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:40), something we don’t mention enough in Christian circles.
Peter’s life tells us (at least) one thing: God meets you wherever you are and can change you if you let Him. Peter didn’t feel he was worthy of the calling to full-time ministry but he stepped up. He left his business and followed Jesus. Thirty years later, Peter would write the letter we know as 1 Peter to encourage his fellow believers in the face of persecution.
It’s easy to gloss over the first verse, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ” (1:1), but so much is packed in that short phrase! Those words tell of God’s grace in Peter’s life, taking him on an incredible journey of personal growth and service to the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter went from your average guy to being one of the pillars of God’s church, an apostle, a top leader. Toward the end of the letter, Peter would sum up what he’s written by stating, “this is the true grace of God” (5:12).
It was the extravagant grace of God that changed Peter and worked in his life and he knew it. Join me this week as we explore the grace of God found in the letter of 1 Peter.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for wanting to build into my life and change me for the better. I’m just an average man and yet You love and care for me so much. Help me to be open to Your grace in my life today.
Reflection: Peter wrote, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.” He knew his place as an apostle. He wasn’t bragging but was both humbly stating what God did for him and declaring his responsibility. Can you state with conviction, “(insert your name), a follower of Jesus Christ,” and live out the reality of being a Christ-follower today?
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