Words of Worth

A Broken Rock

June 13, 2014


I find myself staring a lot lately at this picture hanging on my office wall.  It was a gift from a student who had visited Kenya where an African artist, with obviously a very African perspective, painted the batik. As you can see, Peter is trying to walk on the water toward Jesus, and not very well, but Jesus rescues him.  As I stare at the picture I think two things: I’m thankful God put Peter in the Bible, and if someone ever sold apostle action figures, I would buy Peter.

Peter’s real name was Simon but Jesus changed it to Peter, which means “the Rock”. When Jesus asked the twelve, “Who do you think I am?” it was the Rock who said, “You are the Christ.” Peter was always speaking out and always asking Jesus to explain a parable.

When the disciples were in the boat, in the middle of the sea, in the middle of the night, Jesus walked by on the water. It was Peter, the Rock, who fixed his gaze on Jesus and walked on the water to Him. But it was that Peter who sank like a rock when he looked away from Jesus and was distracted by the wind and the waves. Yet, at least he knew to look back to Jesus and cry out, “Lord save me!” And Jesus reached back, picked Peter up and made things right.

Peter was often angry,maybe angry enough to throw rocks, he often put his foot in his mouth, and he even disowned Jesus. Yet he followed Jesus to His death, while the other disciples scattered like mice. Yes, you’re right,  he followed from a distance, not close enough to be part of the crowd, but close enough to see and be seen. At least he followed. And yes it’s there that Peter denied Christ three times but when he looked upon Jesus, beaten and spit upon, Peter realized what he had done and he wept!

Peter watched Jesus die and then saw Him again-twice! And I would imagine that the joy of the resurrection was tainted by the memory of Peter’s ultimate failure.  When it counted most, Peter wasn’t a rock. However, when Jesus cooked breakfast on the beach for the disciples after the third time He appeared to them, Jesus took Peter aside and dealt with his painful past and set the direction for the future- “Feed my sheep.”

He was so human and the gospel writers painted Peter warts and all. He was a hot head, he put his foot in his mouth, he had a temper, but God never gave up on Peter. When I’m discouraged by my own failures, when I’ve disowned Jesus, I look at Peter’s mistakes and how Jesus still loved him, how He reached down, pulled him up, and made Peter a powerful weapon for the Kingdom.

So I guess the next time  I stare at the batik on my wall, I will  think three things: I’m thankful God put Peter in the Bible, if someone sold apostle action figures I’d buy Peter, and I’m thankful that God, in His mercy, grace and truth, can take my often rock hard heart and break it for Him and make it whole, if  I let Him.

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