Monday, August 2, 2010

Lessons from Jesus and Peter

I have been leading a small group discussion on the 12 Disciples of Jesus and how they interacted with the master.

We started out with Peter as he is portrayed in Matthew's Gospel. I think that since Matthew's Gospel is geared toward the Jewish mind, this would be an excellent place to start.

Below are some snippets ideas we have come up with so far.

1) Peter was curious and eager to learn.

Matthew 15:15
Peter said, "Explain the parable to us."
Jesus never discouraged his disciples from asking questions.

2) Jesus was not afraid to ask the hard questions.

Matthew 16:13-15
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"

They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

3) Jesus was liberal with praise for right answers.

Matthew 16:17ff Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.

4) Jesus was not slow in rebuking incorrect thinking.

Matthew 16:23

Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

Interestingly this chapter juxtaposes Jesus praising Peter for his confession that Jesus was "the Christ, the Son of the living God." and Jesus smacking-down Peter for his incorrect thinking of why Jesus was here in the first place, "Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan!..."

5) Sometime when Peter said something stupid, Jesus just chose to ignore it. He never purposefully tried to hurt his disciple's feelings.

Matthew 17:4 Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah."

I probably would have said, "What? Are you that stupid? These are spirits and you are suggesting to make shelters for them? Come on Peter! Have you learned nothing?" Good thing I wasn't there, eh? :-)

6) Even when Jesus knew Peter would fail, he allowed him to make his own mistakes.

Matthew 26:31-32
Then Jesus told them, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
" 'I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' 32But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee."

7) Jesus not only allowed Peter to fail, but also allowed him to suffer the consequences.

Matthew 26:74-75
Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!"

Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.

8) Even though Peter failed, Jesus made sure to restore him in relationship.

Mark 16:6-7
"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' "

Jesus made sure to get the message to Peter that he was still loved and valued as a disciple. He still needed him and He still had a job for him to do.

How about our relationships with people God has put in our lives? Do we follow these principles of interaction in our small group setting and when we are one-on-one? Ought we?

Blessings all!