Good Ole Peter
I think I’ve said this before, but Peter has always been one of my favorite disciples. He’s just so relatable. Through all the stories Pastor Chad shared this Sunday, you could probably find yourself in at least one of them. Stories from Matthew chapters 13-19, 26, and John 21. Peter had his ups and downs, but he kept going. That is the best reminder for us. Even when we feel like we have made a huge mistake, like Peter denying he knew Jesus, we have to run back to Him. Sometimes that means jumping out of the boat and swimming to shore. (John 21:7) Jesus is always there waiting for us to recognize the mistakes and turn back. No sin is too big. It is too easy for us to forget this. We think we’ve dug ourselves in too deep, or gone too far from the right path to turn back. But, as C.S. Lewis said, “A wrong sum can be put right, but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on.” There is no point in continuing to go forward if we’re going in the wrong direction. A complete u-turn is the best way to proceed.
Peter starts in Matthew 14:28 by daring to do the impossible. Jesus is walking on the water, and Peter wants to do that, too. He doesn’t hesitate when Jesus says, “Come,” but it doesn’t take long for him to get distracted by the wind and waves. As soon as he took his eyes off Jesus, he started to sink. That is what happens to us. We get distracted by the cares of this world, by the worries of those around us, by the problems we see, and we begin to doubt that God is in control. So we start sinking. But we cannot forget the rest of the story! In verse 31 Jesus immediately reaches out His hand and catches Peter. Here’s what we need to remember, Jesus didn’t calm the wind around Peter until after they had gotten back into the boat. He was with Peter in the midst of the wind while they were on the water, but He didn’t remove the water or the wind from Peter’s life. We are going to have difficulties, but we don’t have to sink--as long as we keep our eyes on Jesus.
For Peter to develop his good soil, Jesus had to do something different with him than He did for John or the other disciples. Peter was pretty hard-headed and thought he knew the right way to do things. Jesus’ patience with Peter was perfect. Jesus knew his heart and knew what Peter needed to grow. We have to remember that we are not all alike. We do not all need the same things or need to be taught in the same way for us to have good soil. When you take in information, you may not hear the same things I hear. I do not learn well by hearing, so I have to take notes so I can read them over. Maybe you don’t learn well by writing or reading, so you enjoy hearing a message or listening to audio books. The key to having very good soil is figuring out what you need. One of the ways to do that is by listening to what God is telling us. He knows exactly what we need to make our soil productive.
Peter had good soil. He definitely wasn’t perfect, but he was always trying to be closer to what God had designed him to be. The crops planted bore much fruit. There is no point in having fantastic soil if you are not going to do something with it. If I had a garden full of perfectly balanced soil with no rocks, and I weeded it constantly, but I never planted anything in it, most people would think I was a little crazy. If there is nothing planted or the seed planted doesn’t produce any fruit, then it is meaningless. You don’t care for a garden without the purpose of getting something out of it, whether that is fruit, vegetables, or flowers. If we are growing the way Christ called us to, we must be bearing fruit.