11.17.15 – Peter

campfire_t610“But go, tell His disciples…and Peter…” – Mark 16:7A

When I think about the Apostle Peter, I think about of his love for the Lord. His unbridled zeal for Jesus is unmatched in the Scriptures; for it was a zeal that can only be likened unto hot burning coals. Undoubtedly, he was truly a man on fire for the Lord. Yet there were other times when his testimony appears singed and scorched by the flames of failure. These two extremes in Peter’s life can be clearly seen by contrasting two events, both of which were literally marked by fire. Let us take a moment and circle around these fires and have a little campfire chat about our friend Peter.

If there was ever a disciple that many of us feel a kindred spirit with, it is our dear friend Peter. His verbal blunders and spiritual inconsistencies reflect many of our Christian pilgrimages. Just like Peter, we all can testify to moments of great victory, and moments of defeat. The first fireside gathering found within Peter’s biography was stoked during one of the darkest chapters of his life. It is what I refer to as the flame of flight. In Luke’s gospel we read, “After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too” (Luke 22:55-56). This passage records a particular event that happened soon after Jesus had been betrayed by Judas and delivered into the hands of Roman officials. And in the midst of all the chaos and confusion, the disciples had quickly scattered. Peter lurked in the shadows of the night following Jesus from a distance (Mark 14:54). But after going as far as he could, he found himself around a community fire pit. Peter was quickly recognized as a follower of Jesus Christ. And in the heat of the moment, Peter denied his Lord.

The second blaze that left a mark upon Peter’s life is found is the closing verses of the gospel of John. I refer to it as the flame of faith. The Bible says that when the disciples “got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught” (John 21:9-10). This passage records the third post-resurrection appearance of our Lord to the disciples. The disciples had been fishing all night, but had come up empty handed. Jesus called out to them from the shoreline and asked if they had caught any fish (John 21:5). The disciples were initially unsure who had called out to them because it was early in the morning, and it was difficult to see the shoreline. (John 21:4). Jesus then instructed the disciples to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. Immediately their nets were overflowing with fish and the disciples had difficulty hauling all of them to the shore (John 21:6).  But as this miraculous event unfolded, Peter recognized Jesus. In a leap of faith, he leaped out of the boat into the water and swam to shore in effort to be with His Master and Lord. He was not concerned with what the others might say, nor was he concerned about swimming the distance to the shoreline. He simply knew that he could get to Jesus quicker by swimming than riding in the sluggish, dragging, fish-filled boat.  On the shore, Jesus had built a charcoal fire and was grilling bread and fish for breakfast (John 21:12-13). And it was while circled around this fire that Jesus poked at Peter’s heart with the piercing question, “Peter, do you love me?”

Our lives can be marked by the flame of flight when we try to follow Jesus at a distance and live in such a way that we deny Him as our Lord. Yet our lives can be marked by the flame of faith when we passionately follow Jesus. May these two fires remind us of how frail and fickle we really are, just like our friend Peter. Oh that we would be about the business of fanning the flame of faith and snuffing out the flame of flight!

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17 thoughts on “11.17.15 – Peter

  1. We need to have the flame of faith so we may love Jesus and spread his word to more people . We should not have the flame of flight and deny Jesus and be ashamed that we follow him. Teaching and preaching in his name.

  2. There are times in my life when I am just like Peter and I stand at distance from God. Instead of doubting God and disobeying Him, I should be getting closer to Him and trusting Him. Instead of living the flame of flight, I want to live the flame of faith.

  3. The story of Peter is a very encouraging story to me. The fact that God can still welcome someone who openly denied Christ. And on top of that. Peter was able to get back on track and started living for God again. No matter how much we sin or how far we fall, God will always accept us back.

  4. Our church recently had a bonfire at which we talked about being on fire for God. This journal takes that a step farther in that it should be a flame of faith not a passive flame of flight. Fire is bright and those who do burn with passion for God will be seen and will start fires on others’ lives as well.

  5. Being on fire for God is often a hard mentality to maintain. It starts off easy but then the monotony of life sets in and “normalness” arrives and wipes away the flame. Be that as it may we have a patient and loving God who never gives up on us and always brings us back.

  6. It’s so hard to stay strong in our walks for such a long time, so sometimes God gives us a big, fire filled event to spark our relationships with Him. He is faithful and will always bring us back to Him when we fail.

  7. Peter is one of my favorite apostles for his ability to relate to others. He shows that he has weaknesses like all others, yet still shines a flame so bright. I look at him and I’m reminded that even the strongest of believers who are as close to God as can be STILL make make mistakes.

  8. “Bein on fire for God” is often used to describe people during the few weeks or months after they have gone to maybe a church camp or something and want to share the gospel with everyone all the time. I think that we should be on fire for God all the time. It’s often hard and I find myself sometimes being maybe a little distant from God but I think we should all try to be faithful to him and when we make mistakes to not let that bring us away from him but make us closer

  9. Being on fire for God can be easy to do for a short period of time, but it is often difficult to maintain for long periods of time. We must strive for a consistent and profitable relationship with God.

  10. Contentment is one of the biggest enemies you can have. You must always be passionate for what you believe and be passionate for your goals in life because if you grow content all of your progress will slowly slip away.

  11. Being passionate about things isn’t really what I do or like to do but God wants us to passionately seek Him and to grow our relationship. In Peter we see what this looks like. We see his failures and successes and can use him as an example.

  12. It’s easy to “be on fire for God” after we hear a motivational sermon, or get back from a mission trip, but it’s not always easy to remain that way for long periods of time. y

  13. I think we can all use Peter as an example of being on fire for God. Even though he did deny him openly God still used him. To me Peter’s story also shows how compassionate God is.

  14. We need to try to have as good of a relationship with God as Peter did and Peter even though he wasn’t perfect always had a great love for God and always kept him first no matter what.

  15. Many times in our lives, we are ashamed of our believes. We are timid and scared to admit we are Christian because we don’t want to offend anybody. God wishes for us to stand up for Him, and make a point, even if it means we are hated by the whole world.

  16. When I think of the apostles, I tend to think of people who loved the Lord more than I ever will. I love talking about Peter because he reminds me that even the most godly people are sinners just like me. I pray that I’ll live the flame of faith, not the flame of flight.

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