Monday, April 16, 2007

Peter and the Storm

This is something I wrote up to share with my fellow staff members at our school on Wednesday. Perhaps it will be of interest to you all... :) I think the principles could apply to any relationship. Thanks for reading.

Matthew 14:22 - 32
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.

When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.

What did Peter do? Well, certainly something we might classify as crazy! The storm was raging, but maybe he wanted to show off a little bit. He certainly was an impulsive risk-taker.

What did Jesus do? He invited Peter out on the water - KNOWING FULL WELL PETER WAS GOING TO SINK! And yet, Jesus came alongside Peter right when he was sinking. He reached out His hand and held on. Jesus held Peter up as the storm still raged. And in those moments - 5 seconds, 5 minutes? - we don’t know - I imagine Peter and Jesus, face to face, looking each other in the eye. And then, in loving tenderness, Jesus teaches and rebukes Peter. In private. In the midst of the storm. Jesus was there - for Peter. Holding him up - out of the waves, out of the danger.

We need to hold our kids up. Not only the ones on solid ground, but the ones who are slipping, the ones who are sinking! Too many of them have heard the waves continue to lash out, “Failure, Loser! Look around! You’ll never make it through!”

We were put in this school, in this ministry for a reason. We are called to reach and to hold onto the ones in the storm.

We cannot let the busyness of our day - the storms that are present all around us - we cannot let those things stop us from reaching out to those kids who so desperately need us!

You know the kids - the ones who are always firing off at the mouth, the ones you can’t ignore in the hallways or in the cafeteria. The ones that are hollering out, “Look at me!”

Look at them, please - through the eyes of Jesus. Hold onto them as they reach out for help. Don’t let them go - don’t let them down.

With Christ there is always hope. The young men and women who walk through our halls have potential in Christ that only He knows.

For just a moment, think of two men as they walked the roads of Jerusalem around the time Jesus was crucified. Two men who had rejected their relationship with the Savior. Do you know the two men? Yes, Peter and Judas.

Matthew 26:69-75
Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said.

But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said.

Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth."
He denied it again, with an oath: "I don't know the man!"

After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away."

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.

Peter “the Rock”? Perhaps Peter was even then laughing in shame at the nickname. The Rock crumbled when push came to shove.

And Judas? Well, Judas had made a deal. But when he realized how much he had messed up, how much he had given up by accepting blood money, Judas went to someone for help.

Matthew 27:1-4

Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders.

"I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood."

"What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility."

"What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility."

The Pharisees mocked him and turned him away. Judas saw no hope.

When Peter messed up, what did he do? Well, we know he wept in shame - and we know he went back to fishing. But I’m sure the words of Christ echoed hope in Peter’s heart: “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” And WHEN you have turned back - not IF. Those words of Jesus were meant to encourage Peter - to remind him that all was not lost.

But - what about Judas? The one with no hope? No support?

Matthew 27:4-5
"I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood."

"What is that to us?" the chief priests and the elders replied. "That's your responsibility."

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

Our kids are going to fail. WE are going to fail. But we have a choice to make: are we going to be the scoffers - the nay Sayers “Hey, that’s your responsibility!” Or “What else can you expect out of that kid?

Judas and Peter - both failures in their own eyes. But Peter allowed the echoes of hope to carry him through the dark times.

Judas asked for help - no one listened or cared. I wonder how different the outcome would have been if the chief priests had taken the money back or offered some morsel of hope to this desperate man? We will never know.

We have people in our lives who are asking for help, for hope. We have a choice to make: are we going to provide the voice of TRUTH - the truth of God’s word - that God loves and cares deeply for His children - all of His children. The TRUTH that, in Christ, there is forgiveness, there is grace, and there is hope.

Guard your words and guard your hearts. For the words we speak TO each other, the words we speak ABOUT each other - they are heard - they have power. And we can be the voice of despair or the voice of TRUTH.

1 comment:

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Thank you Carol. Indeed, you speak the truth, it's that truth we need to incorporate into our lives everyday.