1. Through the Eyes of Eternity
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.??(Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV)
Before Peter was anything in the eyes of man, God saw him through the eyes of eternity. He saw Peter through the finished work of Christ. Peter stepped into a realm of who he truly was when he received the revelation that Jesus was the Christ. Peter tasted of some of that reality in this moment. Yet there was still quite a work to be done in his heart. There was a breaking of the soul that had to occur to bring him into a place where he could cross over into another place of divine entrustment.
2. A Hard Place
“Then Jesus said to them, All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee. Peter answered and said to Him, Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble. Jesus said to him, Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” (Matthew 26:31-34 NKJV)
As we know, Peter did deny Christ three times. Jesus told him that it would happen. Peter denied it would happen. The crushing came when it did happen. After it happened, I’m sure he thought everything was over. He had just denied the Person he most believed in, the Person he had left everything to follow. In his own mind, even if Jesus were to rise from the dead, Peter felt he had blown it beyond repair.
After his personal disappointment he went back to fishing. This is where Jesus found him. Yet, Peter was not the same man as he was before he met Jesus. He could not fish like he used to, his heart was heavy. Great sorrow and regret overwhelmed Peter in such a way that he came to the realization that if he was to be the person that God had called him to be, it was not going to happen but for the grace of God. He had finally lost trust in his own strength.
We have the account in the Book of John where Jesus asks Peter “Do you love me?’” three times. The word love in the Greek the first two times He is asked is the word “agape”, the deepest from of love. The last time Jesus used the word “phileo”. This is a downgraded version of love that would be the equivalent of friendship.
3. You Got It
Then Jesus tells Peter that when he was young he could go and do whatever he wanted, but not so any longer. Peter had now crossed through a threshold of destiny. In a sense, Jesus graduated him into a new place of responsibility and entrustment. Something was sealed that day. Jesus was saying to Peter, “Your response is good enough”, from now on things will be different. We see God’s grace at work here. God was not waiting for Peter to be perfect. Jesus sees that Peter finally got it.
Peter had come to a place in his heart of no return. Peter had previously been given authority over demons, to go and heal the sick and demonstrate the Kingdom. This was now a new level of life in God that had been prepared for Him. True sons are not those who just demonstrate the Kingdom of God with signs, wonders and miracles, but also allow the work of God in their hearts to deliver them from spiritual superficiality.
And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)
It was the honesty, transparency and utter dependence that God was looking for. Jesus brought him back to a place of restoration and graduation. Peter had to realize his own weakness. He had to know that apart from Jesus he could not do a thing. Now he had a revelation that was just as needed as knowing the Jesus was the Messiah. It is only when we find that we are completely in need of the Lord that we are able to be His vessel. Peter came into such a revelation.
4. A Common Theme
It is very comparable to the life of Jacob. Jacob, the surplanter and deceiver. His encounter also involved a rock. It also involved revelation. It also involved the wrestling with God where he became weak to lean on God’s strength. Jacob had to face his own personal issues with the help of God. It was then that he began to walk as “Israel”. Jacob crossed over the threshold of destiny moving into the place of God’s promise. He graduated with a new name, a new nature with a new authority with God. For he wrestled with God and prevailed.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)
Our lives are the same. We come to the Lord in a place of believing and following. Then there is a deeper work that God must do in us to be mature prepared vessels that are suitable for His work. When He finds the virtues of life that make a heart ready for His use, within us, then we are in a ripe place for His purposes.