HI all - let's pick it up with point #3 of 7 small decisions Peter made that determined his destiny - and they were all normal, mundane, simple decisions.
3) Jesus stays in Peter's home, Mark 1:29-39
We are told the house belonged to Peter and Andrew, and that Peter's mother in law was sick, whom Jesus promptly healed, and it was at their front door the whole city came to be healed, have demons cast out, and they stayed until the sun went down.
The next morning the text tells us Jesus rose and went out by Himself into a solitary place, and prayed. Verses 36-39 reveal Peter and others went searching for Jesus, for once he found Jesus, Peter said, "Everyone is looking for you" - clearly thinking the 'miracle and healing service' would pick up where it had left off the night before. That was Peter's plan. That was the plan others had for Jesus. That was what everyone expected. Everyone, that is, but Jesus.
"Let us go into the next towns so I can preach there, for that is why I came (from the Father)." v38 This was Peter's first big crucifixion of his plans for Jesus. He had plans for the day and he had the added pressure from his neighbors. But Jesus said no, He would go to other towns - where there wasn't a home for them to stay in, where no one was expecting them, where no advance team had gone.
Everyone of us has had those moments when we thought sure God was leading one way, and then faced a sudden change that caught us by surprise. Peter and the others adjusted their plans, this tiny decision to say 'Okay Jesus, we've made all these plans but I can tell the others to stop, and I'll say goodbye', or words to that effect.
There was no announcement; 'This is a test Peter where we see if you kill your plans on what you want Jesus to do for you, or if you follow Him nothing doubting.' Such a small decision to adapt to the Lord's change of direction - yet Peter made the right decision though he didn't see it for what it was.
4-5) In John 6:22-69 Jesus had just fed 5,000 men plus women and children
And in the early morning hours He simply walked across the lake to get directly to the other side. Many of the people who had been miraculously fed had walked around the lake and then asked Jesus how He got there. He deflected their question, not about to tell them He walked across the water, and upon stating the fact they followed Him not because they were believers, but because they got their bellies filled, He decided to weed out the ones who 'believed' with ulterior motives.
He did this by teaching hard to understand parables like 'You must eat my flesh' and 'drink my blood'. Those statements caused even many of his disciples to leave. He asked the 12 if they too would go. Peter cut through to the core truth - essentially saying, I don't know what you're talking about, but you have the words of eternal life and are the Messiah - so to whom else would we go?
We also face that decision point where Jesus asks something of us we don't understand and can't explain. It may not be a parable about eating His flesh and drinking His blood, but it will be a hard to understand spiritual truth relevant to our lives. What was your first point of a similar decision to follow Jesus even though you didn't understand everything? What was that first point of confusion about what He was saying or the way He was leading? Many back away from the Lord at that point, confused, hurt, saying it is too difficult to be a Christian, or to do what He asked.
6) Peter is used by the devil because details of Jesus' plan are revealed - He must die - and Peter says 'No way!' Matthew 16:16-28 (21-28)
At this point in his life, Peter didn't love the Lord with no strings attached, He saw the Lord through the eye glasses of what HE thought Messiah should be to him.
We all face that next step - we survive and make the right decision at the first point of confusing teaching, or the Lord asks something of us we don't understand at that moment, or life has thrown us a curve, yet we decide to stay in His will and follow Him. Up to the point of Jesus' arrest, after 3 1/2 years of following Jesus, Peter STILL had no clue Jesus had to die. Jesus told him he loved the plans of man rather than the plans of God. That's what it gets down to - your plans for your life of his?
7) In Luke 22:60-62 Peter has just denied the Lord for the 3rd time as prophesied, and it says 'And the Lord turned, and looked at Peter.'
This is the point in each believer's life, each disciple, where the ugliness of our heart is revealed to us. At this point we have a choice. Peter went away and wept bitterly, his ideas of what Jesus would do as Messiah were dashed on the rocks to the point he denied 3x even knowing Jesus. He was confused, angry, hating himself and his cowardice after making several bold statements in the weeks and months before. He saw the worst part of his heart, and He knew Jesus saw his heart too.
In times like that people go one way or the other when they consider the total deconstruction of how they thought their life would turn out and the decisions they made that put them in their current situation. But Peter and the others hung around for one last promise - something about being raised from the dead. What's that mean?
That's exactly what He asks each of us to do - He allows us to experience different decision points which crucify and kill part of us, but these must happen to experience a resurrection that if far, far better.
We've seen a series of small decisions Peter made that were key to keeping him in the Lord's perfect will in his life. The Lord's revelations to us about His will come with subtlety, simplicity, and gently. It is like a railroad track the runs parallel for a long and straight way. Then one track starts bending away ever so slightly, until it reaches a point the train cannot run on it any more for fear of derailment. That is how it is with the Lord. We are on one track and He on the other, but when we start to bend away it takes a very close and honest look at our hearts to discern we have actually widened the gap between where we are going and where He is going. At some point we may stop and wonder how it happened, and as we've not come to know, it happened one small decision at a time.
New subject next week, until then, blessings,