Dec 11, 2018
As a disciple, Peter had his issues. Sometimes he spoke too much. Sometimes he spoke when he just should’ve kept quiet. He was bold, but sometimes without thinking. Or, even understanding.
Critics called him a Galilean, which he was because he was from the west coast of the Sea of Galilee. But they weren’t criticizing the location. Galileans had a reputation for being simple, rough, independent and blunt. Their northern accent was even considered harsh.
Peter was not a cultured man in the sense of being polished and possessing an elite education. His culture was of the common man, a fisherman, a blue collar type with experienced calluses on his hands. His education was also of the common type— common sense. Even his name, Simon, was common.
In short, he was not a Paul. Peter’s speech used short sentences that were to the point. Paul spoke in paragraphs and put Peter-types to sleep. Peter admitted Paul was hard to understand and required thought. (2Peter 3:16)
Peter’s transformation from a disciple that swayed between brave and weak to a leader as solid as a rock is the stuff of heroic legend. We read he cut off a soldier’s ear and then ended up running away in the Garden of Gethsemane. We see him lying to save his Galilean tail when a girl pointed him out during Jesus’ trial.
We see him walking on water until “he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” (Matt 14:30) Then Jesus rescued him and gave him yet another scolding.
But somewhere along his journey Peter conquered his tendency to fear what he saw and heard. Towards the end of his career he wrote that we should cast all our cares, anxieties, on God because God cares for us. (1Peter 5:7)
Apparently Peter learned to cast.
In Acts 12 he had been taken by Herod Agrippa and put into prison. He was guarded by sixteen soldiers. He was awaiting his death. But the man who previously saw the waves is not freaking out at the sixteen faces confronting him, surrounding him, reminding him of the fate that awaited him and the authority behind that threat.
The man who previously sank in the water, who scrambled to save himself, is not scheming or pleading to be released from the chains holding him. He is sleeping.
The night before his planned death he was asleep in his chains. You can’t get calmer or more fear free than asleep.
What was it that brought about the change? Listen to what he said. “Cast all your cares on him [God] because he [God] cares for you.” A revelation of God’s love got down deep into the inner chambers of Peter’s being. Another disciple said it this way, “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1John 4:18)
When Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2), love and power came in. The Holy Spirit is God, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit that conquers fear.
But Peter shows us staying fear free requires diligence in casting. Casting is throwing. And when you throw fear or worry, you don’t fetch them. They stay where you threw them. When you allow God into the space where fear is camping out, fear leaves. When you let God live there, not allowing fear to move back in, transformation begins.
Peter threw the worry on God’s shoulders. Peter didn’t keep it, fuss over it and he didn’t talk about it every chance he got. He threw it off so completely, he was sound asleep when an angel came to rescue him.
What areas in our lives does fear and worry have an address? It is time to evict them and let God move in.
Image by Jose A Thompson courtesy of Unsplash
- (no comments)