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It’s kind of easy to laugh at Peter sometimes.
He was so full of passion and yet so quick to lay everything out on the line, whether it was right or not.
He swore he would never ever ever deny Christ … and then did, right away.
He cut off a guard’s ear when Jesus was arrested.
Even after the resurrection, he loudly proclaimed how much he loved Jesus without really getting was Jesus was asking.
Peter reacted on impulse, first instinct, so much of the time. Take the instance of the Transfiguration.
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John onto a mountain. They fall asleep, and meanwhile Jesus is transfigured. Luke says, “As he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white” (9:29). Moses and Elijah appeared and began to chat with Jesus about his coming “exodus” (oh my word how I LOVE the use of the word exodus there!).
Well, the disciples wake up and take in a glowing Jesus and two really dead, famous dudes. And here is where Peter jumps in.
“As Moses and Elijah were starting to leave, Peter, not even knowing what he was saying, blurted out, ‘Master, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’ ” (Luke 9:33).
Peter doesn’t even get a response; because, at that time, a cloud appears and God speaks. Yeah, that. But just the wording in that verse caught me: “Peter, not even knowing what he was saying …”
Peter earned a reputation in the gospels for being pretty foolish … all because he did stuff like this. Jumped to conclusions and forged ahead, not thinking.
How bad are you at acting without thinking? How bad am I? I tend to let my emotions take hold of me, especially in my current emotional-overdrive state. I spend a lot of time regretting, especially my words to my kids and husband.
I’m thankful Peter’s story doesn’t end with the gospels. He preaches at Pentecost, becomes the leader of the Christian church. The first pope, if you’re of Catholic leaning. His wisdom is found in the books that bear his name in the Bible.
And I think during that time, especially while preaching the most eloquent sermon in history, he probably did a lot more relying on Jesus and the Spirit’s words than his own.
Let’s consider today whether we’re leaning on our own words and emotions or on those of the One who formed languages and hearts.