Tag Archives: Peter

Changing My Mind

I think I’m so clever.

That I know
what’s right
and what’s wrong;
what’s acceptable
and what’s not;
what’s good
and what’s bad.

I have such ideas,
fixed ideas,
safe ideas.

And yet,
perhaps Lord
you offer me a different way,
a less tied up way,
your way.

Maybe if I listened to you
life wouldn’t be so black and white,
so right or wrong.

Today
may I open myself up to you.

What you might be showing me,
where you might be leading me.

May I lay down
my presuppositions,
my prejudices,
the things I’ve long been told

and hear your voice,
calling me,
opening me up,
releasing me,
and seeing
the breadth
and depth
of your life;
and not lock anyone out.

Acts 11:1-18 (CEV)

Peter Reports to the Church in Jerusalem

11 The apostles and the followers in Judea heard that Gentiles had accepted God’s message. So when Peter came to Jerusalem, some of the Jewish followers started arguing with him. They wanted Gentile followers to be circumcised, and they said, “You stayed in the homes of Gentiles, and you even ate with them!”

Then Peter told them exactly what had happened:

I was in the town of Joppa and was praying when I fell sound asleep and had a vision. I saw heaven open, and something like a huge sheet held by its four corners came down to me. When I looked in it, I saw animals, wild beasts, snakes, and birds. I heard a voice saying to me, “Peter, get up! Kill these and eat them.”

But I said, “Lord, I can’t do that! I’ve never taken a bite of anything that is unclean and not fit to eat.”

The voice from heaven spoke to me again, “When God says that something can be used for food, don’t say it isn’t fit to eat.” 10 This happened three times before it was all taken back into heaven.

11 Suddenly three men from Caesarea stood in front of the house where I was staying. 12 The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry. Then six of the Lord’s followers went with me to the home of a man 13 who told us that an angel had appeared to him. The angel had ordered him to send to Joppa for someone named Simon Peter. 14 Then Peter would tell him how he and everyone in his house could be saved.

15 After I started speaking, the Holy Spirit was given to them, just as the Spirit had been given to us at the beginning. 16 I remembered that the Lord had said, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 17 God gave those Gentiles the same gift that he gave us when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. So how could I have gone against God?

18 When they heard Peter say this, they stopped arguing and started praising God. They said, “God has now let Gentiles turn to him, and he has given life to them!”

Passing on the Baton

The King is dead.  Long live the king,

is a proclamation used following the accession of a new monarch.  It encapsulates the fact that the old Ruler is dead, but the ruling goes on.  The new ruler and the new work are of the same value as the one that has passed.

Andreas F. Borchert [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en), CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
The same kind of idea could perhaps be used for the new church in Acts.  Jesus is dead – and though risen again, his work goes on in a different way through the new followers.  God is still alive, and his ways go on.

Acts 9:36-43

Peter Brings Dorcas Back to Life

36 In Joppa there was a follower named Tabitha. Her Greek name was Dorcas, which means “deer.” She was always doing good things for people and had given much to the poor. 37 But she got sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Joppa wasn’t far from Lydda, and the followers heard that Peter was there. They sent two men to say to him, “Please come with us as quickly as you can!” 39 Right away, Peter went with them.

The men took Peter upstairs into the room. Many widows were there crying. They showed him the coats and clothes that Dorcas had made while she was still alive.

40 After Peter had sent everyone out of the room, he knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the body of Dorcas and said, “Tabitha, get up!” The woman opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet.

Peter called in the widows and the other followers and showed them that Dorcas had been raised from death. 42 Everyone in Joppa heard what had happened, and many of them put their faith in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed on for a while in Joppa in the house of a man named Simon, who made leather.

This passage is, I think, what it is – and account of the life of the early church.  The death of one of the dear, hard workers – then Peter praying for her and her coming back to life.  I can’t find much commentary about the event, apart from this interesting snippet from Sowers & Reapers, a brilliant book edited b y John Parr and published by SPCK in 1994:

Luke reminds us of Peters importance in the miracles at (Lyda and) Joppa.  Both episodes recall similar events in the life of Jesus. …Jesus also brought back to life a little girl, Jairus’ daughter, and in doing so used an expression virtually identical to Peter’s words in v40 (Luke 8:49-56).  Peter then is walking in the steps of Jesus – and perhaps also of the Old Testament prophets, for Elijah also brought a dead person back to life (1 Kings 17:17-24)  (p404)

So this passage is making clear that the new Christian church is following in the footsteps of not just Jesus, but the Old Testament prophets.  The work is not done, it is still to continue – and this is an authentic outliving of God’s ways.  Everything has changed – but nothing has changed…

God’s work continues today – and he calls us to be a part of it.  What is God asking you and I to do to pass the baton of faith on?  To keep living his ways, that others may see them?

Lord,

you are alive,

your work goes on;

I pray that I may be part of it,

that I will know what to do,

to continue

your love,

your peace,

your healing

in my place

Restoration

the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition:

That’s restoration.

Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples

21 Jesus later appeared to his disciples along the shore of Lake Tiberias. Simon Peter, Thomas the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, and the brothers James and John,were there, together with two other disciples. Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing!”

The others said, “We will go with you.” They went out in their boat. But they didn’t catch a thing that night.

Early the next morning Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize who he was. Jesus shouted, “Friends, have you caught anything?”

“No!” they answered.

So he told them, “Let your net down on the right side of your boat, and you will catch some fish.”

They did, and the net was so full of fish that they could not drag it up into the boat.

Jesus’ favourite disciple told Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon heard that it was the Lord, he put on the clothes that he had taken off while he was working. Then he jumped into the water. The boat was only about a hundred yards from shore. So the other disciples stayed in the boat and dragged in the net full of fish.

When the disciples got out of the boat, they saw some bread and a charcoal fire with fish on it. 10 Jesus told his disciples, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” 11 Simon Peter got back into the boat and dragged the net to shore. In it were one hundred fifty-three large fish, but still the net did not rip.

12 Jesus said, “Come and eat!” But none of the disciples dared ask who he was. They knew he was the Lord. 13 Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave some of it to his disciples. He did the same with the fish. 14 This was the third time that Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from death.

Jesus and Peter

15 When Jesus and his disciples had finished eating, he asked, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than the others do?”

Simon Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know I do!”

“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus said.

16 Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you!”

“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus told him.

17 Jesus asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus had asked him three times if he loved him. So he told Jesus, “Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.”

Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you for certain that when you were a young man, you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will hold out your hands. Then others will wrap your belt around you and lead you where you don’t want to go.”

19 Jesus said this to tell how Peter would die and bring honour to God. Then he said to Peter, “Follow me!”

This is one of the most beautiful moments in the whole of Jesus’ life and work.

He appears to all the disciples, reassures them again that he is alive – but then he has a special word for Peter.  Wonderful impetuous Peter.  Always the one to do or say exactly what he was thinking, never one to hold back – yet now living with the fact that when it really mattered, he had let Jesus down.  When challenged he had denied ever having known him.  Not sure what to do any more, he had gone back to his fishing, to the place he felt secure; where he knew what was what – but where Jesus had called him from.

But Jesus comes looking for him.

Peter is given the opportunity to put it all right. Jesus could have just told him that it was ok, he was forgiven, but he goes further than that, he gives Peter the chance to say something, to respond to the questions – 3 times as he denied him 3 times – to say it, to confirm his belief and his love.

Through Jesus’ love, he becomes a restored man, he is returned to who he was – but more than that equipped for what he is going to be.

Peter is given the opportunity to put things right.  Jesus gives us that opportunity too.  If there is something gnawing away at you.  Something you know you’ve got spectacularly wrong, Jesus gives you another chance.  He comes looking for you, to talk to you, where you are, to free you.  We too are invited.  Even if we had run away, gone back to what we knew, he comes to us, gently puts his arm around us, and restores us and equips us.

We need no longer be frightened, ashamed, or feeling that their is nothing left.  Jesus takes us and calls us anew,

Follow me

Thank you Lord for second chances
and third
and fourth…

Thank you that you come to us
in our shame,
our guilt,
our fear
and give us the opportunity
to make it right
to be forgiven,
to be restored,
to be invited
to continue to follow you

I came across this beautiful song