Of course, Jesus’ entire ministry was spent “passing the torch.” He devoted three and one-half years modeling ministry in front of his disciples. Before ascending into heaven, Christ gave his men marching orders to finish His work and evan- gelize the world. When it came to Peter, the bumbling disciple needed all the training he could get! Jesus taught impetu- ous Peter many life lessons. Jesus clarified Peter’s call by asking him to drop his fishing nets and fish for men. (Matthew 4:18) Jesus tested his trust by asking him to walk on the waves of the Galilean sea. (Matthew 14:28) Christ crystallized Peter’s theology when he asked him “Who do men say that I am?” (Matthew 16:16) After Peter declared Jesus’ deity, Christ clarified His mission as the sacrificial lamb offered for the sins of the world. Christ applauded and reproved him in the span of seven verses. (Matthew 16:17-23) Peter saw His Savior glorified on the Mount of Transfiguration and grieving in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter was at Jesus’ side during the parables, healings and the feeding of the five thousand. (Matthew 14:21) He listened to Jesus pray. (John 17) Jesus gave Peter his first opportunity to stretch his wings in Mark 6:6-13:
“Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff — no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.” They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” NIV
Jesus was all about on-the-job training. He’d push Peter out of the nest-sometimes he would fly and sometimes he would fall. Christ called him out of the boat-at first he sank, but he eventually walked on the waves. When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost (only after Christ had left the earth), Peter would be ignited with Jesus’ passion and power. (Acts 2:1- 41)
- Can you identify with Peter? What are some life lessons you can learn from him? What kind of “on-the-job training” have you received from Jesus?
- Can you recall a time in your life when Jesus called you to “walk on water?” What were the circumstances that sur- rounded your test of faith? Did you find it difficult to keep your eyes on Jesus during that trying time? Why or why not?
- What do you learn about Christ’s patience in training Peter? Do Peter’s failures and victories encourage you in your walk with God?