Thursday, April 30, 2020

A Fisherman's Tale- Walking on Water (4)

I will be going back and forth in this time with Peter.... exploring his life in a creative manner and thinking through his writings.....

Peter didn't mind being awake during the 4th watch of the night. It was good to be back on the water, he wished they stayed near the seas more. They ate much better and there was at least some break from the constant crowd of needs.

Peter stood tall on the bow and stiffened his body against the crisp counter wind that had moved the boat far off shore. He missed this friend at times, the invisible breath of healing with the hint of salt, full of memories that preserved his soul during dark nights on the sea.

Matthew broke the music and, suddenly, Peter was reminded of the presence of the disciples with him.

"What are we to do?"........  How will we meet him?"

The twelve followers of Jesus seemed to always be confused. They did the Master's bidding. At times they asked him to explain the parables  in which he taught. But the scope and sequence of each day foreshadowed no clue to see beyond their moment, it was their Master's style.

"How should I know, Matthew?" Peter could barely make out the tax collector's silhouette in the dark shadows, "You saw him like I did! He was climbing the mountain and we were in the boat as he directed. We will go to the other side and wait."

Peter looked again out toward the horizon. There was barley any help from the stars and moon. All he knew is that the waves were steady, the wind was stirring, and they must simply wait for the break of dawn.

Back at the stern, there was a different type of stirring. Peter could see three or four of them pointing out into the abyss. Before he had a chance to say a word, a few of them fell back in terror!

"There is a spirit coming for us!"

Peter moved toward them full of confidence and courage. These were common occurrences for fishermen on the night watch who were frightened of sea monsters and ghosts. A few more disciples ducked behind Peter as he became the prominent one at the stern. 

"What did you see?" Peter finally saw the cowering person at his feet was Bartholomew, who Peter assumed would not be steady at sea the first time they met.

"Something is coming for us!          It was walking!"

Peter looked back up as the boat tilted up and down on each crest of a new wave. But all he could see was the ripple of the water as it caught a faint glance of moonlight.

He could also feel now that every disciple was pressed together and peering out. Everyone had been roused from their slumber. and Peter felt his frustration rising. A busy 4th watch often meant an unproductive next day.

And then it happened.....

A cloud gave way at just the right angle to project just enough light to immediately justify Bartholomew's cry!

Every man saw it at the same time and in perfect sight! A figure walking right toward them!

The piercing sound of every man's shriek, minus Peter, intensified the terror! Even steady John fell to his face in the drama!

Panic is a powerful reaction. And when it is constrained in a small fishing boat at 3:30 AM in the deep darkness, it explodes in terror.

Peter himself was alarmed and was physically shrinking back when the sound of the voice overcame the wind and whimpers.

"Men, take courage! It is ME!........  Do not fear!"

And panic gave way..... in an instant!  For there, 30 yards in the darkness, was the unmistakable voice. Jesus was coming and he was miraculously walking on the water!

Everyone stood and could see him, even though he was distant enough to only be caught in glimpses.

And something about it grabbed Peter more than all the others. He had spent years on the seas! Water was his element and this defiance of reality was intoxicating! He needed to see it and he needed to do it!

He sang out toward the figure, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 

Peter's heart was a flame of passion, a type of covetousness compelled his need to experience it.

All Jesus said was "Come" and Peter stepped immediately off the stern and men gasped when he did not sink!

And suddenly the fire was quenched. Peter had not not really moved... the boat simply kept drifting and he was now too far to grab it again.

The wind turned colder and the waves began to toss him. All of the experience on the seas meant nothing now, in  fact they testified further to the sentence of his likely death! Ultimately, all fishermen fear death by drowning... it is the type of end that is always in their presence as the sea longs to accept every sacrifice and rarely returns the gift!

Peter was now sinking!.... all rocks do! And finally he broke down to shrieking like his companions!

“Lord, save me!” 

Jesus always seems to have that same, steady pace UNTIL someone cries out to Him for salvation.... and then he accelerates!

IMMEDIATELY, Jesus was there.

The hand of Jesus was powerful and protective and Peter knew he was now anchored and safe.

The Master clutched Peter to His side and smiled..... He said it with tenderness....

“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

And Peter immediately knew why he had failed. The fears and distractions, the danger and the darkness had taken away his confidence and trust that Jesus was going to shelter him.

Peter was no longer afraid!

And then.... they walked.....

There was no applause when the two came to the stern of the boat, arm in arm.

Peter stepped in first and fell to his face and the others followed suit.

One by one, they began to echo sounds of humility, awe, and worship.

 “Truly you are the Son of God.” 

And the Rock was not surprised that he was once again face down in a fishing boat in utter humiliation and fascinating adoration.

Walking with the Savior now had a whole new perspective!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Rock Speaks (5)

Our study of Peter and 'Christian Submission' continues.... out of the frying pan and into the fire! Submission for the glory of God.... not a natural or easy disposition!

1 Peter 3:1–7

[1] Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, [2] when they see your respectful and pure conduct. [3] Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—[4] but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. [5] For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, [6] as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

[7] Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (ESV)

What Peter says about slaves provokes great questions about social justice. What he writes about marriage provokes great questions about domestic discord.

None of the principles in the Bible, however, make sense apart from the gospel message. When John Newton penned the lines "I once was blind, but now I see" - He means the spiritual eyes that are opened in a way that 'it all makes sense'.

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else".  C. S. Lewis
The demise of marriage is tragic on so many levels. It has had huge negative consequences in social structures, family stability, the abuse of children, the increased heartache of children, and an overall cheapening of our understanding of love, faithfulness, and intimacy.

A deeper tragedy is that marriage is a picture of Christ's love for His bride as well. When Satan attacks, he especially loves to take down marriages individually and he constantly attacks any overall reverence for the institution.

So let's look at the structure of a Biblical marriage and see its implications:

To the Wife:
Likewise (i.e. look back at the point I am making before... )

be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives.

and again- I'm not trying to sugar coat it- this passage is saying some HARD things- supernatural things- things that make you say WHY? or HOW? Things that make non-believers sneer, mock, and criticize.

Skeptics will say - DO you see what these fools are buying INTO?

The bottom line- we are talking about SUBMISSION- sometimes painful submission. And yes, sometimes under cruel masters.

How long do you stay? Is it a sin to get out? Do you mean you have to sit there and get abused?

I always answer the question this way... as far as the Lord's grace allows your faith to go.

I don't know if you believe me, but I am having such a hard time here writing this. I have a good marriage, I have a good life- and it is easy for me to write these things in a ivory tower that fits together in a theoretical rant.

And I know there is real pain and tragedy out there.

So- 'Mr easy to say until you live it'- what are you putting on the brother here? And it is with great understanding that I say it- and ultimately only Jesus took it the full mile.


I know of great stories of supernatural forgiveness- way beyond what would be expected- God given examples of forgiving over and over, deeper and deeper.

Consider again, marriage- it is never easy to submit. Culture, human nature, modern feminist notions rail against these words. It is hard in a good marriage to a good man.

But this passage says likewise- be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, 

Peter says- this isn't submission just to a good man.. this is submission to a bad man as well!

So the woman just stays until she is beaten or killed? NO- she has to reach out to help and society must rush in to correct and protect. The church and magistrates MUST courageously confront these rogues. God will not go easy on anyone who does nor defend the helpless and take down the bullies.

BUT WE ARE MISSING THE POINT- the entire passage here has been about a willingness to 'let go of my rights for the sake of others and for the glory of God'....all of this points to Christ. He endured cruel punishment, He yielded to the providence of pain, He did not even speak in defense, He lovingly and humbly stretched out His hands and embraced the nails.

All men fail... but Jesus stayed the course.

Now this is not just a moral imperative that we fall short of- there is instruction here for the wives.

Yield to the authority of the husband; it is an organizational chart.

Included in these instructions: Do not obsess with outward beauty... it is a trap! Focus to be beautiful on the inside: character shines longer, sweeter, and better than any vain, youthful flash.
Be strong, not fearful.

All of this, under the powerful Holy Spirit and the transformation of the gospel, makes for the chemistry of not only a good marriage, but of potential salvation. There have been men and children brought to Christ by the patient perseverance of a godly wife. This doesn't mean to choose an ungodly man for a missionary marriage, but it means that when a Christian says, "I do" it is for better or for worse.


1 Peter 3:7

[7] Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (ESV)

Likewise? What do you mean likewise? It means this- Men submit as well. When God places a man as Lord of the marriage, He doesn't mean Lord in the worldly sense, He means Lord in the heavenly sense.

The extent that any wife is to follow the husband as leader is always in direct correlation to his humility and submission to the humility of Christ. A godly husband yields to his wife as much as she yields to him. The relationship is a mutual 'yieldedness', not a 'demand my rights contract'. If both parties follow this with passion and trust God for the results, this is what makes a marriage the sweetest it can be on this planet, though never perfect.

The husband in an understanding way.... understands...  he spends energy to know her- wants to please her. Treats her as a 'weaker vessel' not that she is a weaker vessel, but he tenderly cares for her like a piece of the finest china or fragile treasure.

since they are heirs with you of the grace of life,- Both husband and wives are equal heirs to God's grace! The marriage covenant is a temporary organizational flow chart to picture Christ and the relationship to work pragmatically.

so that your prayers may not be hindered.- Men, is nothing happening in your prayer life... How are you treating your wife?

Final thoughts
All of this will lead into a message for all to seek unity, love, tenderness.

But Peter has hammered 'humble yieldedness/ submission' for over 21 verses. Do you remember the last thing Jesus said to Peter after the resurrection?

John 21:18–19

[18] Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” [19] (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” (ESV)

Over the course of his life, Peter learned this submission in a deeper way. The old Peter was proud and active, he would say before the thought, he would act before he considered. He just did it his way and really couldn't care less what anyone thought. The old Peter was a leader who walked all over any fool willing to follow.

But the new Peter- restored, forgiven, facing the end of his journey- would have to watch his wife be killed for the faith and then himself led to a cross. He made a request- "I am not worthy to be killed like my Lord" and so they crucified him upside down.

And this ultimate humiliating state... GLORIFIED GOD!

And only the redeemed in Christ have any clue how that statement is true.......

They aren't going to applaud. They aren't going to honor. They aren't going to understand.

But you have to do what is right anyway.........

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Rock Speaks (4)

I remember it like it was yesterday! 

I was in a crossfire between two high school buddies, being beaten to death over a point I had made about the Bible. 

It was one of those spur of the minute religious debates and they were laughing to the point of mocking me like I was a lunatic!  

I was a new believer, and had read the passage below the night before, including the verse "slaves, be subject to your masters with all respect". And they were hammering me....

Right there in the small, quaint kitchen in East Lake. I was the one under fire......

"You have to be kidding me! You mean that a slave should be happy to stay where he is!"

I was standing firm: "Someone who trusts in God can be content in all circumstances", I replied.

One of my friend's mom sat there, sympathetic with my plea,  but I knew that even she wasn't buying it.

Almost 40 years later and the argument is more defined. These are not easy passages in 1 Peter 2; they evoke a lot of passion and a lot of it is from personal pain and injustice. 

I wish I had a second chance to state my case. And it is hard to explain without understanding the WHOLE message of the gospel in the full view of a promise, this world will be made right!

..... but it is not my case, here is what Simon Peter wrote:

Trigger warning: 1 Peter 2:13

1 Peter 2:13–25

Submission to Authority

[13] Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, [14] or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. [15] For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. [16] Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. [17] Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

[18] Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. [19] For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. [20] For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. [21] For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. [22] He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. [23] When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. [24] He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. [25] For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (ESV)

Love and humility go hand in hand. There is also a type of 'yieldedness 'that becomes a part of the Christian's disposition. Christ said "Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth." But this is NOT as welcome a virtue in current society.

It is easy to mistake 'meekness for weakness' and often compels people to look at you and wonder where your manhood is.

So when it comes to 'submission', our sinful human nature doesn't come to it easily or naturally. It feels like someone scratching on a chalkboard to hear someone bluntly screech, "The RULES say..".

It cuts right across the American trend of rugged individualism with the motto: "Don't tread on me!"

But notice Peter's admonition, he has a "why": For the Lord's sake- be subject to every human institution.

Again: It is the Lord's will for His followers to be yielded to the mandates of authority.

And in the examples he gives, he includes (yikes)... slavery

Do what? Are you saying it a sin for a slave to rebel?

As soon as you mention the word, it brings up such pain and passion that the discussion soon dies under the fire of accusation and identification.

God's Word and the principles therein expressly condemns slavery as sin. The world however records types of slavery that continue even to this day, most evident in human trafficking in our society.

We have a lot of examples in history and God's people have had many times in their past of indentured servanthood.

Slavery is not a part of creation; it is a product of sin.

There are things in the Bible that shines light on the reality of human sin. Specific situations in a sinful world warrant specific instructions to that sinful world and that means that biblical instructions concerning slavery do not implicate biblical approval of slavery.

If the Bible records or regulates a practice, it doesn't mean it condones it......

The biblical case AGAINST all slavery is solid: Slavery undermines God’s creation, all people have equal dignity before God, all people are equally submissive to God, and all people will receive equal justice from God.

However, the Bible also regulates slavery when it is a sad reality:

I was encouraged in this view by Pastor David Platt. A lot of the statements here are his notes from a sermon in 1 Timothy 6. This was after a long and considerable exposition that clearly shows slavery as forbidden in Scripture. 

Pastor Platt then noticed that God's Word ALSO mandates physical protection for slaves, it requires financial provision for slaves, it ensures caring supervision of slaves, and it promotes (and in some ways guarantees) eventual freedom from slavery.

The Bible encourages slaves when they are in this terrible plight. He asks them to act in grace to do things that are not easy! These responses and attitudes are only a product of the grace of God and in the full view of a suffering Christ on the cross.

To even begin to palate these thoughts, you have to understand:

Christianity is not aimed primarily at social reform; it is is aimed primarily at personal redemption.

At the same time, history will show the church (admittedly too slow) was finally the catalyst for the abolition of the slave trade. The greatest opponents to this blight were hard charging believers!

And the principles of these actions and attitudes can be applied to work situations when you find yourself providentially stuck to a job where your boss isn't high on your like list.

Peter is clearly in line with the rest of the Bible:

Christians are to honor unbelieving masters, for the glory of God, and for the advancement of the gospel. 

Christians are to respect believing masters; they are to work wholeheartedly for them, and serve selflessly.


The greatest literary character in American literature, in terms of actual heroic submission for the glory of God was Uncle Tom, the Christ honoring slave who suffered under the terror of slave owner Simon Legree in the infamous novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin.

When Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, he smiled and said, "So you're the little woman who wrote the little book that started this great big war."

We have such strong negative feelings about the book today, so much that to be called an 'Uncle Tom' is about as big a slur that can be hurled in the African-American community. But the novel was anti-slavery and Tom was a genuine her. Legree was a despicable villain!

And, as I read it, I wept for Uncle Tom's beautiful devotion to Christ and his willingness to love and pray for and endure his evil master.

But it is too demeaning... it is too high a price? Is it?

It is a walk of faith and a trust in a land that is not our current home.

The Bible also does not waste a crisis to remind us of the true essence of all things!

Difficult, dire, or unjust situations push us to find the beauty of Christ…

Our Master has become our servant and we gladly become His slave.

This type of life requires a healthy trust that God is in control and sovereign over your circumstances in life. Peter encourages us to even endure suffering- the primary motivation is that Christ himself suffered for us.

Now... a bit of good news:

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

1) Freedom- the greatest freedom in the world is the one where we are completely justified in the sight of the Creator! So we are free, under the condemnation of no one!

2) The honor of suffering unjustly holds a special place in God's heart.

Questions: These are legitimate discussions and must be explored by every believer and answered with prayer and faith.

At what point do I rebel? Am I willing to trust God enough to obey the authority He has placed in my life? But doesn't He also require a time for civil disobedience?

Am I free? Do I feel free? Does this freedom motivate me to pursue the Lord and love others? Or just serve as a way to live in selfishness?

Do I take time to pray for my boss... even if he is a hard taskmaster with faults and issues?

Hard Examples of Godly Submission  will continues in Peter's letter tomorrow....... I will have to endure the crossfire of today first!

Hang in there.... more food for thought on the way.....

Monday, April 27, 2020

The Rock Speaks (3)

After peering deeply into the salvation of grace... we are constantly reminded by Peter:

...According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus...

This now leads us into a response......A Higher Calling TO WALK like a KING.... and that is explored in today's reading.

1 Peter 2:1–12

[1] So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. [2] Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—[3] if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

In light of the glorious gospel- we are to become obedient. This obedience is shown by the growth of a sincere love.

Peter makes a simple command as to how to do this:

"So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander"- think about how this relates to a sincere brotherly love for people:

All malice- why do our hearts harbor malice? They do! The greek word here infers a desire for ill will. Desiring to stir up trouble, even if it means breaking the law.

Every instance of deceit- this infers craftiness- where we plan and manipulate events- even withholding things to cause harm. There are some in this world who plot, scheme, and execute plans just for the pleasure of seeing their power produce results!

Hypocrisy: the term comes from the guild of acting- 'pretending'- showing a false pretense

Envy: a desire to take away from someone else and an anger that someone has something you do not have. It is ultimately a deep ingratitude toward God....

Slander: speaking evil. It is disgusting how many people pass along false information that destroys other people!

I guess my biggest hurts over the years has been when I have experienced these things from other human beings.

There have been times in my life where I know a person just hates me and I wonder why. Maybe I am some sort of rival or it's just a plain misunderstanding; but nothing hurts more than to be a victim of a scheme! It is worse when someone smiles at you and then turns around and does harm or spreads lies or twist stories..... these are deep wounds!

And these things should have no residence in a person who has the Spirit of Christ in them.

If I am honest, the way some people have treated me at times in the past makes me wonder how they will be in heaven.... I call them "Christian jerks"... but I guess that can be me as well! We need grace!

The passage here seems to indicate that it is a process....

[4] As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 
[5] you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. [6] For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
[7] So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
[8] and

“A stone of stumbling,
and a rock of offense.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

[9] But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. [10] Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

A couple of observations: 

There is a universal dividing line- being with Christ or being against Him.

The experts of the world reject God's capstone and will reject you if you follow Christ.

But regardless: We are expected to walk like a royal champion:

Chosen by God- chosen race (repeated in vs 9)

Precious to HIM- His prized possession (vs 9)

a Holy Priest- a royal priest (vs 9)

Honored by God- God's people


"That you may proclaim the excellencies of Him-

the one who called you out of darkness into light"

And the result?

Because we belong to heaven- we should not live as though we are worldly.

[11] Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. [12] Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (ESV)

What a high and IMPOSSIBLE calling!

'abstain from the passions of the flesh'.... our default mode here is to immediately think of the party life (sex, drugs, and rock n roll).. but I believe it is much more than this. We must constantly fight our taste for the finer things. We must not be slaves to luxuries and indulgences. An idol is often a good thing that is elevated to a 'god' thing!

Every time I try to relate an analogy to this... it fails to capture my point...

How about a simple question:

What is the minimum lifestyle you will accept and still be happy with God?

Would it help to remind ourselves that Peter left it ALL on the shore of Lake Gennesaret and followed Jesus?


Now, I know this is out of order, but I need to go back to the top of this chapter and point out a secret, a winning edge

[2] Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—[3] if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Think about that newborn baby and that raging, aggressive fight for food.


As we ingest the truth of the good news... the transition from pauper to Prince begins to grow. And the result is a beautiful life to the glory of God.

Next comes a crazy twist.... we are to walk as a chosen priest... and immediately Peter is going to tell us to be a slave..... 

Tomorrow's lesson will not be easy!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Rock Speaks (2)

For a time, I am exploring the life and writings of the apostle, Peter.

This site has had an average of 225 page views every week since the Covid-19 closures began.

What is hindering you from coming home? The example of Peter is a great story of God's love and grace!

Feel free to reach out to me at It has been encouraging to hear from many of you! Todays writing.....

1 Peter 1:10–12 

 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, [11] inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. [12] It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. (ESV)

I'm still pondering the simple and powerful statement from yesterday….

...According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus...

Read that slowly- then fast- then piece by piece- emphasize different words... amazing! Substitute the word 'me' in place of 'us'..... He has caused ME to be born again to a living hope....

This statement is from a man who denied Jesus, he deserted Jesus at a time of His greatest need! A few years after Peter writes this this, he was crucified UPSIDE DOWN for his faith! It just gives me chills......

This section then is 'concerning this salvation':

Peter goes back to the Old Testament- you know the old aphorism, "The Old Testament is the New Testament contained- The 
New Testament is the Old Testament explained" and we begin to see the beauty of God's plan as it is developed in history, through the covenants- all the types and shadows- all pointing to Jesus as the culmination of redemptive history.

In three years of ministry, Jesus prepared Peter for this revelation. I wish I could have been there! Don't you know that the Word of God must have burned in their hearts as the Savior read, quoted, and taught from Deuteronomy, Isaiah, and many other places of the sacred writings!

The amazing prophecies of the OT that are fulfilled in Christ! My favorites are Isaiah.53 and Psalm 22. But there are SO many more!

And these prophets; perplexed at times, under duress, never seeing a lot of fruit or acceptance, were serving us (the New Testament believers) with the light of Christ's resurrection. The illumination of things like the Passover are tangible experiences of the presence and the glory of God.

The bad news in the Old Testament makes for GREAT news in the New. (But there is plenty of good news in the Old Testament!)

"Things in which the angels LONG to look"- it is like Peter is saying- "This salvation is beautiful and magnificent, executed flawlessly over space, time, history- and it just causes the angels to study in wonder over and over again".

And sadly, sometimes, I just flippantly say... 'yeah, Jesus loves me.... now what fun thing are we doing next?". My anemic, Westernized, affluent faith is such a poor example of this rich and authentic faith!

A much different priority is referenced very clearly in the Book of Hebrews- Chapter 2: "Therefore we must pay MUCH CLOSER attention to what we have heard, lest we shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?"

Then we have the "THEREFORE" of this section. And it literally says for us to "Gird up your minds- and seriously attach yourself on the grace that is coming when Christ returns"- it is the idea of preparing for a long journey, kind of like a treasure quest, and there will be peril and hardship along the way; but we going to make it our highest priority to study and reflect and meditate and rejoice in the gospel! Our hope is so secure in this grace; that we never drift from it, knowing that the DAY of the LORD will be better than the most magical Christmas or beautiful birthday we could ever imagine!

The next section will then challenge us. In it, we get an amazing, undeserved gift! We can't earn it! But what is our response to it?

A Radical View of Obedience- A Passionate Pursuit of Holiness

If there is any 'criticism' of modern, evangelical gospel presentations, it is an improper view of sanctification and very lackluster discipleship.

Because it is so important to stress salvation by Christ alone, by faith alone, by grace alone; we often fear or de-emphasize a conversion that does result in a transformed life.

I would be the first to fight anyone who I thought was teaching a 'Christ plus deeds' salvation and anyone who ventures into that category quickly suffers the odium theologicum (anger of the theologians). Most of the criticism I receive about my blog writing seems to always fit in this category.

So I write this blog with caution. However, the Scriptures are clear.  The truth of the gospel and the clear product of grace is a life that pursues holiness and develops a trend of godly obedience.

No good deed ever merits righteousness; it is ONLY BY THE BLOOD of the LAMB OF GOD!

But... when we receive the ability to see the glorious mystery, it creates an opportunity to grow in grace.

Before we venture into Peter's view of this- let's see some other clear Biblical references:

Ephesians 2:8–10
[8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [9] not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)

James 2:14–18
[14] What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? [15] If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, [16] and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? [17] So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
[18] But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (ESV)

Now, if I am honest I say that these verses tend to make me unsteady, because I see how sinful I am and struggle with my worldliness and apathy. But this is where Peter helps me so much. Read carefully, what he says here and let me make a few observations/applications.

1 Peter 1:13–25

[13] Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. [14] As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, [15] but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, [16] since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” [17] And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, [18] knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, [19] but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. [20] He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you [21] who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
[22] Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, [23] since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; [24] for

“All flesh is like grass

and all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers,

and the flower falls,

[25] but the word of the Lord remains forever.

And this word is the good news that was preached to you. (ESV)

If I reconnect this back to the last blog post, I see it clearly: it is the great mercy of God and the great sacrifice of Christ that is in full view here. But as we pay close attention to what has transpired, it does something very profound.

The gospel produces a new view of God, a new motivation for obedience, a new view of holiness, and a better fruit than the old administration of the Covenant of Grace!

#1 A NEW VIEW OF GOD- the Father- and we are children.

- this is a biggie for me- I have always viewed pursuing holiness as a checklist of discipline. But the reality of holiness is much deeper. Deeds ? yes! ......but with a different AND deeper motivation... "a sincere brotherly love- an earnest love from a pure heart"


This is the most surprising part of Peter at the end of his journey. 

We know John had the reputation for love, something that exuded from him even at the time of Christ's earthly ministry. 

Paul seems to magnify love and  joy in all things. 

But these are not attributes that we associate with the man called "Rock". He was a rugged leader, a fighter, a fisherman.... his lifestyle was associated with dragging heavy nets with coarse hands!

The last conversation that Jesus had with Peter on earth is evidence of this struggle. Christ obviously used the moment to restore Peter after the three time denial.... asking him three times if he loved him.

At that time, all Peter could say is "I love (phileo- not agape) you." I hope I get a chance to review that passage in John 21, especially the prophecy that Christ gives Peter about how he is to die and the changes ahead for his life.

I love it.... Peter was always the first to boast of what he was and what he would do.... but not now... Peter had acquired a great gift... the gift of a healthy skepticism of himself!

The boastful,  hard charging, speak first, hard fishin' man called the ROCK now sees it!  The fruit of holiness IS brotherly love,  that pours out of a broken heart of humility and is full of fresh grace from the Father of love!

My guess is that Peter had more love at the end of his life than John and Paul combined! Peter always wound up winning!

Jesus LOVES.... we just 'love'... at times.... and there are times that I wonder if I love anyone at all other than myself.


The seed, full of God's power, is HIS word of truth- and specifically 'the good news' part of the seed- the gospel of grace! Read that 2nd part again......
since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; ... wow!

Now go back and look at this powerful opening chapter from the man called THE ROCK!

I am calling out to all people everywhere who have been washed in the grace of Christ.According to God's great mercy, we have been BORN again to a living HOPE!
So much better than the OLD CODE, so good it is worth waiting on, it is worth suffering for, is is worth laying hold of, it is worth striving for!
It has a base and fruit of LOVE.
And it is secure in the integrity of God's WORD! It was planned, prophesied, promised, and fulfilled!
It is all to Christ's glory!

This is Saturday morning during the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown. Every day seems the same these days. Take some time this morning or some time today and think through "Salvation"...where are you? What price was paid?

When I do it..... here is what I think:

EVERYDAY- I need to stare into this gift with great excitement and joy.

I need to ASK GOD- to see it so clearly that I am changed.

AND PART OF THE CHANGE is for me to love others in sincerity, not pretense.

God forgave me... I forgive others.

God loves me... I can love others.

I can treat others the way I would like to be treated.

Chapter 2 will tell me how.........

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Rock Speaks (1)

[1] Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, [2] according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [4] to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, [5] who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [6] In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, [7] so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. [8] Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, [9] obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:1–9 ESV)


Simon Peter is one of the most interesting studies in the entire Bible. We have written records of his time with Jesus, a gospel narrative closely linked to that experience, detailed accounts after the ascension in the Book of Acts, and then TWO letters he penned near then end of his life on earth.

Any exhaustive work on this life could produce an amazing movie, novel, broadway play; an enormous amount of material! I tried my amateur writing style in an attempt to do that this week (see posts on 'A Fisherman's Tale'). I enjoyed it, but I don't think I can do it justice! I do think Peter's life would make an amazing Broadway musical!

He is also an everyday man: blue collar, rugged, impulsive, married, a man of visible faults, and humbling moments.

So I will spend time over the next several days reflecting on his writing and pondering his life.


Peter was with Jesus.

I’m going to skip ahead a little later in this book:

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: (1 Peter 5:1 ESV)


The ‘exiles in the dispersion’ might be Jews who had fled Israel, but a better application is to Christians who are no longer citizens of the world, but now aliens to the world and who now share in many ways the sufferings that Christ experienced.

Let me pull again a few supporting verses:

Christian- you will NEVER be totally accepted in this world system:

[3] For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. [4] With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; (1 Peter 4:3–4 ESV)

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. (
Hebrews 11:13 ESV)

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, [21] who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.  [1] Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. (Philippians 3:20–4:1 ESV)


Think about the phrase 'living hope'- and I'm convinced the life of that hope springs eternal.

(LIVING) ζάω,v \{dzah'-o}

1) to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead) 2) to enjoy real life 2a) to have true life and worthy of the name 2b) active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God 3) to live i.e. pass life, in the manner of the living and acting 3a) of mortals or character 4) living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul 5) metaph. to be in full vigour 5a) to be fresh, strong, efficient, 5b) as adj. active, powerful, efficacious (Greek Bible ONline)

Why was this hope so alive? So secure?

#1 Peter's hope has 'reasons'- he can explain it in the realm of logic. The Christian faith is NOT a blind leap of incredulity. If you look at his sermon on the day of pentecost you see a clear narrative that has roots in the Old Testament and connects the nature of man to God's plan. That is why later Peter tells us to 'sanctify Christ as Lord' and 'be prepared to give a defense' if we are asked to give a reason.

#2 Peter's hope was secure in his experience- Think of all the failures in Peter's life and how his relationship with Christ was never terminated. Peter had sunk in the sea, been called 'Satan', been corrected on the mountain and rebuked in the garden. And worst of all, denied the Lord those three shameful times- NO WONDER HE CALLS GRACE "GREAT"!

#3 Peter's hope had been tested, tried, and found stronger than ever
- Peter says above he had been grieved, tested by fire- yet he writes of imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance. A hope that results in praise, and glory, and honor.

Does he harken back to that day when Jesus said "Simon, Simon Satan has asked permission to sift you as wheat?" Extra-biblical accounts say that Peter had to watch his wife being tortured and executed for the faith.

The greatest HOPE of all:

In spite of Peter seeing the Lord- in His earthly state, in the transfiguration, and in the resurrection- his greatest excitement comes from the faith of those who haven't seen and still follow Him- AND LOVE HIM!

The word for love in verse 8 is 'agape'- a word Peter himself in his humbled state could not profess to the risen Christ after the resurrection and during the restoration in John 21.

Yet, Peter- full of years of wisdom and persevering faith- is so hopeful of a group of disciples who LOVE Jesus without seeing Him.

So it is also a ‘living hope’ in that it will be born again- over and over- saving 3,000 on the day of Pentecost and then sweeping the globe for 2,000 plus years of gospel expansion and world changing redemption.

And that is the living hope that you and I are honored to walk in today!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Depart from Me- A Fisherman's Tale (3)

The little village called the 'Fish Hut' was now a flurry of excitement and activity. Hundreds of new faces were in the village, enthralled with the Nazarene and the stories following him were as varied as the growing crowd.

Simon.... he was exhausted.

The events of the previous days had become a whirlwind of confusion. Everyone on the boat last night could tell that Simon was not himself. 

Normally, Simon was the captain with energy and control. He studied every element and change to find fish. He had the reputation with an ego to boot. But this past night he was merely rewinding old routines. He was distracted, aloof, and passive.

Andrew was the only one to sharply reprimand James and John when they began to argue. Normally, Simon erupted on the two brothers before their tempers up into a hailstorm. Not last night. The small boat was full of discord and empty of fish.

Simon finally stepped in and did something he had never done before. ....He sent James and John back to shore. 

"Go back and fish with your father," Simon said with a low and calm voice, "he will be glad to have your help today. There are no fish to be found tonight."

The 'Sons of Zebedee' were so stunned that they soon forgot what the argument was even about.

"Are you dismissing us, Simon?"

Simon shook his head . "No, we will go out again. Go see your father. He will be happy to have your help today. See, daylight is breaking and we are done."

When they got back to shore, the buzz of anticipation throughout Bethsaida was already stirring. No doubt the healing of Simon's mother-in-law was the crescendo of the celebratory mood.

Simon could see Andrew's desire, he wasn't going to be much help.

"Go....go... run and see him. I will take care of the boat."

Andrew jumped across the bow. He landed on the pebbles like a panther and ran toward the crowd.

Simon bent over and put a calloused hand on the nets that had soaked all night in the Sea of Galilee without results. He didn't feel like doing this now.

Just a few yards down, James and John were already helping their father with his boat. They were washing their nets properly and looking back at Simon with some trepidation. Normally, Simon would want to outdo anyone near him..... but he felt lost this morning. Simon never left his boat without getting the nets ready to dry, but he was fully compromised. He was too tired and wanted to go hug his wife. He was almost ready to talk about what happened.

The pebbles on the shore cracked in the sunlight. The wind was picking up as well as the cacophony of the Capernaum crowd that now moved in his direction. Simon looked up and saw Jesus walking right toward him... the exact stride that he had seen in the night just a short time ago. There were hundreds who were pressing behind him.

Simon looked back and noticed that two boats were the only things separating the throng from the waters of Lake Gennesaret. He knew which one was about to be used!

"Simon! Push us out! This is the best way for them to hear my Father's word!"

They stepped in simultaneously and Simon let the anchor rope out just enough to give Jesus the distance he needed to speak to the group. Jesus turned a large fish basket upside down and sat on it. When he sat down, so did the crowd.... almost on cue. It was the largest impromptu school house ever in Galilee.

Then he began to speak, his voice carried with power and authority. Simon had never heard anyone like this!

People had already been talking about the message Jesus had been giving. He had been filling the synagogue with those who were wanting to hear these words. Simon was hearing it now for himself.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. "

Simon did not know as much about the ancient Word as he needed to know and had never shown much interest in it. It was impossible to miss anything this man was saying.

Jesus spoke easily for a long time.

At times, Simon knew Jesus was quoting long passages from Isaiah and Jeremiah the prophets. He was familiar enough with the words of Moses that he recognized almost every time Jesus when was quoting directly from the holy scrolls.

But then Jesus would say things that no Galilean had ever heard.....

 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. "

And then Jesus stopped. It was now well after the 3rd hour.

He turned away from the crowd and directed his attention solely to Simon.

“Simon, let's go fishing. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 

The crowd quietly moved back toward the village, except for Andrew. He was swimming to the boat!

Simon stood up..... "Master".... and Jesus did not correct that statement with the same look he had used on the night of the healing.

Simon helped Andrew in the boat and indicated a need for support 

“Master, we labored all night and did not pull in anything! There is no need!"

The Nazarene turned over the basket he had used to speak and put it back in its proper place.

"Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 

Simon glanced over, the other boat was back on the water as well. They were following with great interest.

" There are 7 miles behind us, Lord, and 7 miles to the west. There is a ridge just behind us that is over 100 feet deep. Is that deep enough for you?"

Andrew laughed out loud.

Jesus seemed to enjoy it all. Simon noticed the excitement Jesus had.... almost like a child. He was taking it all in, totally immersed in the sun, wind, and all creation!

Simon peered into the water, the shallow bottom suddenly disappeared into a deep blue abyss. He had known this ridge all his life, but it seemed more pure and deep that he had ever noticed,

"Ok, Andrew, at the Master's bidding, let's put the nets down."

Jesus grabbed them and began to help as well.

As soon as the last net opened, the boat began to rock to the side! It was full of fish!
Immediately, the other side filled and though the small boat was now balanced, it was close to sinking!

"Andrew, pull harder!" Simon regretted that the Sons of Zebedee were not on his boat!

The port side net snapped and was being pulled off of the side!

Simon called out to the boat following them.


Jesus and Andrew were starting to relieve the broken side of the enormous catch. Simon jumped down and used the fish coming in to ballast and balance the boat under the strain.

It did not take long to completely fill Simon's boat and there was another full net to go!

The Nazarene took great interest in every movement, sight, and smell. His smile was wide. Simon was too anxious about sinking to enjoy any of it!

The other boat was filled also to the brim.

Father Zebedee, James, and John looked at Simon.

"These are your fish! We will carry them in for you!"

Simon waved them away.

"No, no..... those are yours! These fish are not mine!"

Jesus stopped everything. His entire attention was now on Simon.

Simon felt him.

Just a few nights ago, he was weeping in the night, wondering if God cared. He was now overcome in the light. He was exposed for all his pride, exposed for his pretenses, exposed for neglecting others and God, exposed for bullying, exposed for a dead cold heart..... he fell headlong into a pile of dying fish and cried out loud.

His posture and sobs ripped away the darkness that he had been holding in for decades.

He screamed out! It was a higher pitch than the seagulls who were also competing for the prize. 


Which was such a strange thing to say in a boat hovering over a deep trench in the middle of Lake Gennesaret.


Andrew fell to his knees, his prayers were being answered right before his eyes. Healing Simon's mother-in-law was a debatable miracle. Many were already saying she merely recovered.

A humbled Simon, crying out with no care of who saw him..... this was an irrefutable miracle!

Astonishment is too slight a word. James and John were statues in the background. 

The cargo of the catch was nothing now...... Simon was undone!

The most amazing thing was that Jesus knew exactly what to call this emotion.

He grabbed Simon's hand and said with complete authority, "Do not be afraid."

Simon immediately knew it was truth. He was a man dominated by fear.... fear of failure, fear of what others thought of him, fear of being found out what a fraud he was.

Jesus lifted Simon up with a force that could have landed both nets by himself.

"Hear me Simon, Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.

They landed the boat.... but things were changed forever as they put their sandals on the shore. 

Jesus walked ahead of them and held out an open hand.

He repeated the call... it had the force and feel of something official.


Andrew, James, John, and Simon left it all on the shore.

They left their boats, their nets, and the large pile of fish. Zebedee had seen it for himself and he knew what the boys had to do.

Jesus put his hand on Simon one more time and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called 'Peter' ” .

And Simon had no more issues with it. It was time to walk with the Lord.

Fire in the Bones- A Fisherman's Tale (2)

Andrew had never seen his brother cry.

But there he was... unmistakable.... as Simon collapsed back against the mud brick wall of his house. Andrew himself wept at the dire circumstances. This was a dark day on top of a week of foreboding. Everyone in the home was suffering the strain. The house was full of people but no movement could be detected and the silence magnified the sound of  tears.

Andrew had followed Simon outside and, even in the dark, he could tangibly see the pain.

He didn’t know what to do. Dare he approach his brother in this rare moment of weakness?

But Simon already knew he was there.

“What do you think, my brother?” barely getting it out through quivering lips and short breaths.

Andrew moved closer and put his hand on the back of his brother's neck.

“We MUST pray. God can heal this fire in her bones.”

Simon did not want to counter his brothers' newly revived faith, but he withdrew from the reassuring touch and stared at the stars with the questions that all men cry out in their pain. All Simon heard was the background murmur. Proof of the life of others who did not share his pain or sorrow. The dogs barked and sheep echoed their responses. The smell of the fires throughout Capernaum were meaningless and empty.

They stayed quiet and still and Andrew ventured another awkward question.

“What of the Healer?”

Simon shook his head. “We don’t need to take her to the Jordan, she won’t survive.”

“No, Simon…. Not John… the man who is in Galilee... the Christ!”

“The demon fighter?” Simon’s voice could no longer hide the sarcasm. “The one who wants to change my name?.... The one you say is the Messiah?”

There had been considerable talk about the Nazarene who was teaching in the synagogues and was rumored to have cast out a demon from a man who had been screaming insults to heaven. Most were suspicious that the event had been staged.

Simon had already met him.  Brother Andrew took Simon to see this man called Jesus after John the Baptist had pointed to him with a nonsensical utterance about a lamb and sin.
Andrew was so excited, that he drug Simon to meet Jesus.

But Simon thought he looked way too common to be special. It also did not help that Jesus said he would call him "Petros" or Peter, a rock. When Jesus said it, everyone laughed and no one ever made fun of Simon and gained his favor.Simon got revenge and laughed himself when others suggested that ‘nothing good could come out of Nazareth’.

It was fine for Andrew to go out to see this man or that crazy other one who dressed in camel hair! The man who ate locusts and wild honey while calling people sinners. He spent the day telling people to repent and then he cleansed them in the Jordan.

Simon finally told Andrew that could visit the spectacle all he wanted to.... as long as he did it on his own time and not hurt the fishing business.

Andrew loved his brother in spite of the skepticism and submitted to the request.

When Andrew had bragged recently that the waters of the Jordan had benefited the fishing… Simon knew what Andrew was referring to. It seemed ridiculous to think that ceremonial washing of sin was contributing to a good fish harvest.

It was easier to just dismiss it. Simon did not have the energy to debate him.

“He won’t come. Why would he care about the mother-in-law of a man he wants to call a rock?”

“Do you mind if I at least ask him?”

Simon’s wife settled the debate…. She had been listening to the conversation.

“Andrew! What are you waiting for? GO!” Her command was fervent and desperate.

Simon stood and glared at her.

He had no interest in becoming a part of a side show. This Christ wasn't going to come anyway!
He kicked the ground as he pondered if they had enough to even take care of the funeral.

But there was a deeper issue... Simon  was about to lose a woman that he deeply loved and wondered if she even knew how much he cared for her..... and how guilty he felt about that.



Simon had been asleep on the wall when he heard the shouting. He had no clue how late it was or how long he had drifted off in his sorrow.

Simon's wife grabbed his arm. 

'You will need to invite him in, my Simon!"

Simon stumbled through to the front and struggled with whether he was dreaming or awake.

The commotion had drawn a crowd, there were torches all coming from the direction of the synagogue where Andrew's voice was unmistakable.


Andrew was easy to spot, he was running ahead and running back while the figure who followed him walked at a very casual pace.

The fires at nearby houses began to illuminate the man that Simon had met mere days before. 
Simon could not help but stare at him as the two finally looked at each other, eye to eye.

The Nazarene spoke firmly. "I have been pressed by Andrew to come see your mother-in-law. May I come into your home, Cephas?"

Hearing "Peter" again was so unusual to Simon that he was roused on edge; instantly alert and awake. He stumbled somewhat in the response.

"She is very sick, my Lord. A fire is raging in her bones, and we fear she will not last the night!"

Jesus glanced sideways at Simon right on the beat of the title  'Lord'. It was a cutting look, one that stripped away Simon's flippant use of the phrase.

Jesus gently grabbed Simon's wife, put both hands to her face, and whispered in her ear away from the gathering group of family and bystanders. She covered his hands with hers and began to weep.

"Yes," she answered quickly, "she is in here". And Jesus stooped into the doorframe of the room of sickness and darkness.

After a moment, he stepped back into the flickering light and took turns looking at each person in his presence.

Andrew spoke first. "Rabbi, you have the power to make her whole, I believe that with all my heart!"

Many reiterated the same sentiments.

Simon was impressed by his brother's confidence.

Jesus motioned to Simon and Andrew to join them as he went back into the small adjacent room.
He lifted his eyes and hands to heaven and whispered. Simon was straining to hear him, but he couldn't quite hear or understand.

The mysterious Nazarene then stepped over Simon's mother-in- law and stood upright on the opposite side. The fever stricken body beneath them was trembling under covers on a barren floor. She had been that way for days.

Then Jesus, in a loud voice, rebuked the fever.

Rebuke now seems like such a mild word. He cursed it!  In the name of the God of Abraham, Jesus spoke to the illness as if it were personified.

Simon only thought he hated the illness that was attacking his beloved mother-in-law.

He now could feel the passion! Jesus hated it and spoke to it in words and emotion that Simon could only marvel at.

Then Jesus stooped down. After a pause, he finally looked up at Simon's wife and reassured them,  "Your mother is now whole again."

Before anyone could remove the wraps, Simon's mother-in-law stood and kissed her healer on his cheek! He smiled and the room erupted in praises to God! No similar sound had ever emanated under Simon's roof!

The shouts began to grow outside the house. 'The Master has healed her! Praise be to God! Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah! He is the Christ!"

Inside they all sat down. Andrew laughed and looked very hopefully at his brother.

Simon did not know what to think.

Simon's wife and the now totally normal mother-in-law brought bread and wine to those who had stayed.

Simon looked again at Jesus. That forceful rebuke seemed to have pierced Simon as well. It almost seemed to be directed through the fever with a final destination aimed at Simon's heart.

Jesus did not say "Cephas" again as he walked out of the home later that evening. He walked with the same pace back toward the synagogue.

Simon wondered if he were going to be able to fish. James and John were already making preparations for the day.

"Andrew, send word to the Zebedee brothers. We will not be going out this morning. Tell them we will go tonight."

How could he go now? There were too many things to be thinking about!

Monday, April 20, 2020

A Fishing Tale- The Introduction (1)

It had been a spectacular day!

Only fishermen know the deep resolution and the full emotions that mesh together at the end of a perfect trip on the water.

Simon was exhausted, but ecstatic. His back throbbed as he spread out the last net on the shoreline pebbles that now glistened bright crimson brilliance in the Mediterranean sunset.

The deep blue sky, the ripples of waves, and low clouds added to the hues of purple and orange in the pristine horizon. Jehovah had saved His best work for last; throwing head turning strokes of color with just mere minutes left in this contribution to His glory.

Birds took turns diving and floating as they too cheered the accomplishment. Teems of baitfish had surrounded the boat all day and even now, predatory schools of fish were exploding on the surface of Lake Gennesaret. No need to throw out the nets again, Simon's boat was overloaded.

Days and days of failure, heartache, and missed opportunities always precede these moments. But fishermen’s hopes die hard. This day would now fuel more days of high winds, tangled nets,  and bloody hands with mediocre or no results.

The sons of Zebedee were both lying down. It appeared that John was looking at the sunset and James was out. Simon resisted barking out orders at them, but perfect days tend to do that. The ideal conditions drove the brothers with powerful intensity. They stayed too busy to argue themselves, a surprising added attribute to the day. It had been a strangely peaceful existence in the midst of activity.

Simon’s brother, Andrew, finally had the shoreline fire intense enough to leave it and hustled back to help his brother secure the boat and prepare to clean the catch.

“Want me to call them?”

Simon saw that now both of the brothers were out. He put his hands on his hips and slowly shook his head.

“No, give them a few minutes. We will have a long night with the bounty.”

Andrew smiled. He liked to see his brother happy.

“We have some great water flowing from the Jordan.  It is clean and powerful.”

Simon nodded his head in agreement. He was unusually quiet, but Andrew could see the satisfaction flowing through Simon’s body.

“Yes, brother Andrew” , Simon finally could not restrain himself, “It was miracle water today. We haven't had one like that in a long time.”

Simon whistled toward the local boys. They were waiting eagerly for his call and raced one another to the boat. Simon laughed at the spectacle.

“We have had a good day! “ He tossed a small coin to the winner.

“Please run to my wife and her mom and tell them that we had a good day and will need help tonight. Bring more salt as well.”

A small group of the other boys from Bethsaida waited to see if they might be included. They always had a reverent fear of Simon, whose dark outline looked larger than life now.

“Ok…. ok, yes…. You three, but no more.”

Andrew immediately began to send them to their tasks and the activity had roused James and John to their feet.

One of the boys finally found the courage to speak to Simon.

“This is by far the best catch today in all of Capernaum!”

Simon swelled in the victorious acclamation.

Fishermen are good at that as well.


I have truly enjoyed getting to know Peter in a deeper and more personal way over these last few weeks.... If I get time, I will begin to write a little about it.

We know his story... but there is so much here...

This fisherman from a place called "The Fishing Hut" has quite a story! [14] And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, [15] so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. (Acts 5:14–15 ESV)

Hope this series will encourage you as much as it does me!