Why We Hate Peter

You think you want to see Jesus.

It’s something you’ve sung on Sundays, you’ve heard it’s the goal of your faith, and you pray the prayer believing that if you just see Him, everything will be all right.

But, then you read stories of actual encounters with Jesus and you wonder if you’re mistaken. After all, you only have your perspective from this outpost of Glory.

When the disciples were out at sea, the sky dark, the wind against them, and a long way from land, they saw Jesus but it was no comforting sight. It scared the pants off them.

That’s the Jesus you know. He walks up to you in the midst of your storm when the wind is blowing in your face, and you think He’s going to put His arms around you and say it’s going to be fine.

Instead, He says something crazy like, “Forgive this person who’s ripping your heart from your chest.” “Love this enemy as she skewers your hope to the ground.” “Tell the truth about this topic even if it means people will hate you and no longer respect you.” “Get out of the boat and walk on the water, it’s all good.”

That’s not nice. Seriously. You know? Doesn’t He see that you’re scared? Doesn’t He care that you’re not in the best position to take a risk just now? He’s God, after all, so He must know you’re not ready for this – not until your stomach settles, or the waves die down, or the sun comes up tomorrow.

For Pete’s sake.

Wait. What’s Pete doing? Is he actually getting out of the boat? Aw, this is so wrong!

Suddenly, you hate Peter. You’ve been friends for a long time but now he’s making you look bad. What does he think he’s doing? Does he think he’s Jesus’ favorite or something? He’s clearly trying to score points with Jesus but he’s rocking the boat. He’s putting all of you at risk. You look over at the other disciples and you can tell they agree.

Good. He’s the only one. This is some test but you’re staying put with the sensible majority. Let Peter become the object lesson for attempting to be God.

You hear Jesus yelling over the waves not to be afraid. Yeah, okay, Jesus. Easy to say if you can walk on water but you’re only human. You’ll sink like a stone.

There goes Peter. Show off. He’s actually climbing out of the boat.

Wait. What? He’s doing it.

The guys’ the size of a house but he’s walking on water. How is that possible?

You realize in that moment that maybe it is possible. I mean, Peter, he’s nothing special. You don’t even remembering seeing him pray that morning. He overeats, he burps at meals,  and he’s always saying stuff without thinking. But he’s doing it. He’s walking toward Jesus on the open sea.

And Jesus doesn’t look angry at all. His arms are open to Peter. Wait a minute. This was a test, only you’re the object lesson now, not Peter. How did this happen? All of us are wrong! We were supposed to literally get out of the boat! Who does that? When Jesus said “Come,” it was like an actual command. Oh man, this is bad.

Then it happens. The wind picks up just a notch and Peter looks around – takes his eyes off Jesus for one panicked moment and that’s it. He sinks. He’s under. He’s gone.

And you’re glad.

You’re glad Peter’s drowning. It’s wrong. You know it’s wrong even as you feel it, let the thought flicker in your mind. But it’s satisfying to see him slip beneath the waves. He overstepped. He made the rest of you look bad. He took a crazy risk. He deserves to feel the pressure of deep water.

Jesus reaches down and with one motion pulls Peter from the sea, placing him back in the boat. He climbs in behind him and the wind calms. Jesus scolds Peter for doubting and it should make you happy but it doesn’t.

Because now you realize something.

You could have walked on water.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:2-8)

Today’s post was inspired by Mark 14:22-33 

Interested in taking a step out of the boat? Check out my friend, Ron DeMiglio’s blog post at Shun Common. What did one domino say to the other? We don’t have to fall.

Easy Tweets for sharing:

Why we hate Peter (and why we stay in the boat) http://wp.me/p4y0mC-Qc #todaysmustread

Why we hate Peter http://wp.me/p4y0mC-Qc #stepoffaith #followingJesus

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    The Conversation

  1. NikeChillemi says:

    I love this article. I like to think of the apostles as living breathing men…fishermen. I giggled when you mentioned that Pete burped at meals, but being Middle Eastern, I’m sure he did. That he got out of the boat at all is huge faith to me. Not the faith of Jesus, of course, but more faith than I usually have.

    • Lori Roeleveld says:

      I always like to think I’m like Peter but I’m more likely to have remained in the boat. How much I needed Jesus!

  2. Lynn Donovan says:

    Lori, I want you to know I enjoy and appreciate these insightful post. I love the way God impresses Himself on your mind and I appreciate your obedience to write it all down. Thank you. I also want to let you know I share your post often with the women of my church. Your perspectives are very relatable to our lives and they, too, are ettified by your perspectives. God bless you and your writing. ~your friend in Kansas. Lynn

    • Lori Roeleveld says:

      I don’t believe I’ve ever had a friend in Kansas, Lynn, so I’m grateful for you! Please give my love to the other women. Mercy and grace, Lori

  3. Always pleased, never satisfied? Because he sees I can be so much more … but it’s not for him, but for me.

    • Lori Roeleveld says:

      I think, too, He designed us to rise to a challenge – you know that more than I with all your crazy active sports, yes? He just wants us to explore – not only the world – but also our own capabilities in relationship with Him.