I never really understood the fascination Jesus had with Peter. He was the first disciple chosen, and that’s kind of a big deal, right? But from the start it seemed like he was blowing it. Jesus found him fishing on a lake and performed a miracle. He filled Peter’s nets with fish. But instead of just thanking Jesus like a normal person, Peter gets the next part all wrong. He freaks out and starts shouting for all the other fisherman to join him. You know there was a scene. Then he proceeds to ugly cry at the feet of Jesus, also a super big scene. You just know it. Where he proceeds to tell Jesus to go away. Yep. “Go away, Jesus.” Well done.
My kind of disciple.
Red hot mess.
And throughout his time with Jesus, Peter continually showed his inability to keep it together. Just like me. Even after all he knows, after all he has seen. Right until the end. Peter denies Christ. To his own eternal shame. I mean, seriously, Jesus even gave you a heads up, Peter.
Again, totally my wheelhouse.
But I read these passages again recently, and it was as if God gave me new eyes. Fresh perspective. You see, I’ve been going through some serious spiritual and emotional changes lately, and so my perspective is changing. I am growing. My faith is deepening. Maturing. And therefore, so is my ability to interpret, to hear from the Lord, to see what he sees.
You see, when Jesus found Peter on that lake, all stressed out and anxious after a full day of catching absolutely zero fish, he saw Peter’s heart. He sent him out there knowing exactly how he would respond to his gift.
Not like most of us would.
Most people are glory hounds. Most people are selfish. When something good comes our way we tend to say, “Hey, look what I did,” and “Look what I have now.” And we keep for ourselves. Not Peter. Instead, the first thing he did was share the blessing. He immediately called to all the other fishermen who had caught nothing that day. And they were able to partake in this miracle with him. Not because of what he had done. But because of Jesus.
And when Peter returned to shore, what did he do? This is such an incredibly beautiful thing. He humbled himself, in front of anyone and everyone. He didn’t care who saw. He fell to his knees at the feet of Jesus. He felt his own unworthiness. He felt so ashamed of the sin in his life, and THAT is why he told Jesus to move on. He did not feel worthy to be in Jesus’ company. And he was right. This fallible mess of a man somehow knew that he was in the presence of Glory when some of the wisest men in the region at that time couldn’t even see it.
Jesus recognized a moldable heart. He found favor in it. Value. Purpose.
His readiness and worthiness for ministry and God’s purpose had nothing to do with anything on the surface. His qualification was one of the heart. He was imperfectly perfect. He continued to make mistakes, and Jesus was never surprised. He knew. He picked Peter for other reasons.
There is no such thing as the perfect vessel.
Just because someone looks like they have it all together does not mean they do.
And just because someone looks like a hot mess does not mean they aren’t ready to do great things.
I think what God is looking for are willing, honest, and moldable vessels. Can you listen? Are you open to change? Are you ready to be used? If so, then no matter where you think you are at in life, God has something for you. Something Beautiful. Something truly important. Something singular. Something that is meant for only you. And if you don’t step into it, no one ever will. And it’s kind of hard to imagine the story of Jesus without Peter in it. Because he is what brings it down to earth for me. Makes it seem relatable. Human. Believable.
He’s the part of the story that makes you go, “Seriously though, Peter, pull it together.” I totally feel you brother. Solidarity. Everyday. All day.
So friends, get in the boat. Set your sail. Go do the thing. That thing God’s been asking you to do but you don’t feel worthy. Or ready. Because neither was Peter. And neither was I. But you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
And happy sailing, my fellow wrecks.