Peter & Grace, Part 2

As a continuation of last week’s message in recounting Peter’s early Christian walk, today’s blog will focus on Grace’s role in his life and how we can so easily relate to this man’s journey of faith.
If you haven’t read last week’s blog, I encourage you to click HERE to catch up before we dive into today’s very practical application from Peter’s life experience and lessons. Let’s start off by revisiting Peter’s responses to the situations recounted in part 1.

Let Down Your Net

When Jesus told Peter to let down his fishing nets, Peter’s initial reaction was to question this advice, since he had already tried it multiple times to no avail the night before. Can you relate? How often have you questioned God’s leading because either it didn’t make sense to you at the time, or you’d tried it before with little to no results? 

Isaiah 55:8–9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God’s infinite thoughts are far greater than our limited ability to comprehend them. The psalmist exclaimed, “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17). God’s thoughts and His ways don’t always make sense to us, but we can rest in the knowledge that He is always good, and, therefore, everything He does is good (Psalm 13:6; 100:5). Peter's life changed forever as a result of his obedience to a directive he didn't fully understand or agree with at that moment. He never regretted that choice.

Walk on Water Much?

Have you ever stepped out with a huge leap of faith and found the Lord right there, meeting your need, feeling closer to Him than anyone else, then suddenly you get blown over by an unexpected event or weak moment, and you immediately start to sink? Knowing that this was Peter’s story may be comforting, but it’s what happens at the end of that account that should catch our attention. When Peter was distracted and took his eyes off the Lord,  Jesus was right there, ready to take hold of Peter, lift him up, and guide him to safety. Jesus saw Peter’s heart. This disciple's confident display of faith in a perilous situation was because he knew unwaveringly that the Lord would be there with him. We, too, can hang onto such assurance, "for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?' " (Hebrews 13:5b, 6).

But Admitting I’m a Christian Could Make Me the Object of Attacks!

We’ve all been there . . . surrounded by those who neither love nor follow our Savior, and who may even be hostile towards the gospel and the acknowledging God at all. Would Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial have been true of you, . . . of me? Jesus warned Peter about his human frailty, and also He warns us (1 Peter 4:12-19), but if we’re not walking close to Him (Remember, Peter watched “from a distance.”), we may not be able to stand up to opposition and remain resolute in our faith—just as Peter was not able. As Jesus prayed for Peter, He also prays for us. Wow!

Did you catch that? 
The Creator of the universe, the Son of God, the resurrected Christ, PRAYS for us (Hebrews 7:25). He prays that OUR faith won’t fail, and that even after failure, we will return to Him and be used to help strengthen the faith of others (Luke 22:32). That, my friends, IS amazing grace—giving us above what we could ask or think and using us after a failure to make a difference in the lives of others. Only the grace and mercy of a loving God could accomplish such a feat.

Meeting Us Where We Are

In part 1 of this two-part blog, we were reminded that God intentionally recorded in Scripture that Peter was to be individually and directly informed of Christ’s resurrection.
Peter—the one who had just denied Him, then went into hiding.
Peter—the one who wept bitterly over his failure to admit his association with Christ to unbelievers.
Peter—the one that Jesus was going to use in a mighty way to build His Church.
Peter—the one that God chose to pen the words, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
God's grace was irrefutable in this man's life. Think about it. . . . We are discussing the disciple who watched from a distance (i.e., was not sanctifying the Lord in his heart), was not ready to give a defense of his faith when confronted about his association with Jesus, and who lacked a gentle and respectful demeanor the night Jesus was betrayed. Peter, who had recommitted his life to Christ and served him faithfully until the day he died, was chosen to write these inspired words as if to show that God's grace is extended to the weakest, most impulsive, and least deserving of us all. 
As you ponder these thoughts, I'd like to challenge you to read 1 and 2 Peter afresh and anew. Read them with your new understanding of the human author of these letters. If you do, you can't help but appreciate in a deeper way the wonderful grace of Jesus—a grace that should continue to amaze us, as it did Peter, every single day.

"Your Grace Still Amazes Me"
by Connie Harrington and Andrew Shawn Craig
(sung by Phillips, Craig & Dean)

My faithful Father, enduring Friend
Your tender mercy's like a river with no end
It overwhelms me, covers my sin
Each time I come into Your presence
I stand in wonder once again

Oh, patient Savior, You make me whole
You are the Author and the Healer of my soul
What can I give You, Lord, what can I say?
I know there's no way to repay You
Only to offer You my praise.

Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
'Cause Your grace still amazes me
Your grace still amazes me

It's deeper; it's wider
It's stronger; it's higher
It's deeper; it's wider
It's stronger; it's higher than anything my eyes can see.

Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
'Cause Your grace still amazes me
Your grace still amazes me

Author Bio:
Holly Varnum, Director of Curriculum Development at Reasons for Hope joined us September 2021 to launch curricular materials to support many of our media resources. With degrees in education, curriculum and instruction, and educational administration, she comes with over three decades of experience in working with teens and adults in camp ministry, teaching and administration, and curriculum writing (A Beka Book, Focus on the Family, and Answers in Genesis to name a few). God has provided her with a well-rounded educational perspective through service in Christian schools, charter schools, public schools, homeschooling, Christian camps, and local church ministry. She has been a classroom teacher, instructional coach, administrator, camp counselor, Sunday School teacher, ladies’ Bible Study teacher, and conference speaker and looks forward to using her passion for God’s truth within the context of Reasons for Hope.

Her hobbies include cooking and baking, hiking, camping, travel, and working on do-it-yourself projects. Holly and her husband, Paul, (RforH*’s Special Content Manager) also enjoy any time they can spend with their three grown daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren (so far!). They live in the beautiful state of Maine, and yes, eat lobster (properly pronounced “lobstah”) whenever they get a chance!
To learn more about Holly, or to book her as a speaker for educational, ladies', or girls' events, click HERE.

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Unit 1: Foundations begins with the basic principles of apologetics, biblical worldview, and critical thinking. This groundwork prepares students to unpack the rich content of the attention-grabbing DeBunked videos while they build relationships with others, actively apply the lesson content, and find true purpose in planting seeds of faith in a world that needs the hope of Christ. Click HERE to see other related products or to order this valuable resource.
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