John 18:10-11 – “Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?’
After more than two decades preaching the Bible week after week, there is one character in the Bible that I find most people relate to: Peter. Peter is a hot mess minus the hot.
Peter started as a businessman, running what was likely a large fishing business. He was married with a wife who did ministry with him (1 Corinthians 9:5), and a mother-in-law whom God healed (Mark 1:30-32). He was on the inner circle of three disciples closest to Jesus along with James and John.
Here, we see that Peter is quite a character. For starters, he apparently not only trusts in Jesus but travels with a sword. When more than 600 trained and armed soldiers surround Jesus and His 11 disciples, Peter, who is a fisherman and not a fighter, pulls his sword to take matters into his own hands. Peter is the kind of guy who thinks that sometimes God needs help, his help. Missing the mark, Peter lops off the ear of some guy named Malchus. The other gospels tell us that Jesus healed Malchus and put his ear back on just in time for him to hear Jesus rebuke Peter.
We love Peter because he is impetuous. He’s a big personality, and the polar opposite of Judas. Judas was covert, Peter was overt. You never know what Judas is doing. You never have to wonder what Peter was doing. Earlier in their journey together, Peter not only claimed Jesus as the Christ, but then started bossing Jesus around. Here, Peter is going to go to war for Jesus, and before long will deny Jesus to a young girl. Peter is emotional, impetuous, and the kind of guy whose life does not have a dimmer switch. He’s all in or all out.
The reason we love Peter is because we are like Peter. Like Peter, most of us get it right…the second time…or third time…
Following the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Peter got better but was still a work in progress. He preached the sermon at Pentecost that launched the Church. On the four lists of disciples’ names in the New Testament, he is always listed first as the senior leader. He wrote two books of the Bible, and was reportedly crucified upside down because he did not feel worthy to die like Jesus. But, he was also a bit of a racist whom Paul had to rebuke to his face. He made progress, but was not perfect. So it is with real Christians.
How are you like Peter?