Peter’s Up and Down Journey with Christ

He Was Human Just Like Us, After All

As we continue the journey to Easter, this week we’ll look at the interruption in Peter’s faith.

In John 1:35-42 Peter’s journey with Christ started with his brother Andrew introducing them. Introduction is where relationships start. Like Andrew, we need to introduce others to Christ.

The next step on the journey was Jesus inviting Peter to follow Him. We see this invitation both in Matthew 4:18-20 and Luke 5:1-11. In both Scriptures, Jesus extends an invitation for Peter to follow Him. He extends this invitation to us also.

Last week Jesus was instructing Peter and the other disciples how rough the journey was going to be. (Mark 8:31-9:1) Peter didn’t want to hear this and pushed back. This caused Jesus to reprimand Peter. We need to be open to Jesus’ instructions and not let our own ideas disrupt our journey.

This week we talked about Peter’s interruption.

As Jesus and His disciples shared their last meal together, (Matthew 26:17-30) He told them of the things that they could expect on their journey. He told them that one of them would betray Him. We know now that this person was Judas.

After the meal they were on their way to the Mt. of Olives, and Jesus told them how things were going to go on this journey. He told them that all of them would desert Him.

Once again Peter spoke up and said, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.

As Paul Harvey would say…we know “the rest of the story”. We know that Peter does in fact deny Jesus three times.

While they were on the Mount of Olives, Jesus is approached by a crowd of priests, elders, and temple guards led by Judas, and he betrays Jesus with a kiss. (Luke 22:47-52) As Jesus is being arrested and taken away, His followers all run away.

They take Jesus to the home of the high priest to interrogate Him while Peter followed at a distance.

The guards then lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it. Peter joined them. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. She said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”

Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!”

After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!”

“No, man, I’m not!” Peter replied.

About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.”

Once again Peter said,

“Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.

At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter.

Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”

And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.

This denial of Jesus was certainly an INTERRUPTION in Peter’s journey.

Can you imagine how Peter would have felt in that instant when Jesus looked at him and knew what he had done?

Like us, Peter and Judas both had interruptions in their journeys. They both handled these interruptions completely differently.

Judas gave up and killed himself.

Peter asked for forgiveness and was forgiven.

Interruption is a normal part of our life journey. Like Peter and Judas, how we deal with these interruptions is up to us.

Remember that no matter what our interruption is, we can ask for forgiveness and move forward on our journey.

Life is Full of Interruptions, What is the Best Way to Handle Them?

By Being Clear on What Your Priorities Are and Being Prepared

An interruption is the act of causing a break in the continuity or uniformity of an activity by saying or doing something.

Growing up, I remember watching TV or listening to the radio and hearing the phrase “We interrupt this program”. This was a common phrase used to indicate an emergency broadcast or a breaking news event.

The phrase was first used in the United States in the 1960’s as part of the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), which was established to provide an expeditious method of communicating with the American public in the event of war, threat of war, or a national crisis.

For me personally these announcements never caused me to worry. Sure, I would stop and pay attention, but it was more about listening to the information rather than panic. I remember when the attacks happened on 9/11 and people went to gas stations to fill up any kind of container they could.

If the world was coming to an end…a gallon of gas in a milk jug wasn’t a very good plan.

As Jesus’ followers began to spread the good news, the religious leaders would interrupt them trying to stop them. The followers didn’t stop. The more the followers shared, the more the religious leaders interrupted. These leaders liked the way things had been and didn’t want anything to change.

Then Saul was interrupted and struck blind with a flash of light.

We need to be careful not to get stuck in our ways or we might get smacked upside the head with a board. We need to be clear about who we are and Whose we are.

Philip was preaching in Samaria telling the people about Jesus and the people were eager for more teaching and to witness more miracles. Many people with evil spirits were healed, and the spirits went out of them. Several paralyzed and lame people were also healed. Everyone in that city was glad because of what was happening. (Act 8:4-8)

Sounds like things were going well for Philip and what he was doing. It would have been easy to stay there and continue.

But Philip was interrupted.

Philip was told by God’s angel to go into the desert on the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza…and he went.

There Philip saw an Ethiopian official riding in a chariot. The Spirit told Philip to catch up to the chariot…so he did.

The Ethiopian was heading home after he had been worshipping in Jerusalem and Philip heard him reading from the book of Isaiah. Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading. (Acts 8:26-30)

The Ethiopian said, “Not unless someone helps me.” Philip helped him understand and the Ethiopian asked to be baptized. They stopped the chariot at some water and when they came up out of the water after the baptism, the Lord’s Spirit took Philip away. (Acts 8:31-40)

Talk about an interruption!

Too often we get stuck in a routine activity. Doing that same thing we’ve always done, the way we’ve always done it. It may even be a good thing like what Philip was doing in Samaria. We just need to be open to God’s interruptions and be willing to act on them.

We’ve all had those things that tug on us to do something that isn’t a part of our plan or that we aren’t comfortable doing. Often, these are God’s way of interrupting us.

It’s His way of letting us know His plans.

We just need to embrace the interruption…and do it.