Monday, February 06, 2006

"The Apostle with the Foot-Shaped Mouth"


This past Sunday I had the privilege of preaching the second message in our series from the Gospel of Luke entitled Lost and Found. The series is built around different characters in Luke who encountered the Savior. My message was on Simon Peter. The picture is by Hannah Kim, a gifted artist and member of our staff who is doing drawings to go along with the series. The following comments introduced the story from Luke 5:1-11 of Peter's calling and the miraculous catch of fish...


The Fisherman
The gospels introduce us to many memorable characters. But out of all the people and we meet as we journey with Jesus there are few that capture our attention and win our affection like the Fisherman called Simon Peter. He is boisterous and impetuous. And you can’t help but love him.

Peter had the most raw leadership ability of the disciples. He was a man who made things happen. The problem is that what he made happen wasn’t always so good. He was impulsive—a man of action who often acted or spoke before he thought.

No other follower of Christ caused as much trouble as Peter. No one spoke out of turn as frequently. In his book Twelve Ordinary Men, John MacArthur calls Peter “the Apostle with the foot-shaped mouth.”

That’s a fair description. In the gospels Peter asks the most questions. He’s usually the first to speak. He says what the others are thinking but are too timid, or too smart to say out loud.

For example in the midst of the awesome and holy moment when Jesus had been gloriously transfigured and was conversing with Moses and Elijah, it was Peter who spoke up to suggest that tents be built for the three men. Anyone else would know that the unspoken rule of a moment like that is “only the Son of God or major Old Testament figures are allowed to talk.” But good ole Peter had to pipe in.

And on another occasion the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water during a storm and were terrified. They thought he was a ghost. It was Peter who called out and asked Jesus to prove his identity by commanding him to walk to Jesus on the water. I still don’t understand what Peter was thinking in that moment. A normal person would say, “If you’re really Jesus tell me what we talked about over lunch yesterday.” But Peter wasn’t a normal person. And when Jesus called him, Peter stepped out of the boat.

I think that moment captures what Jesus loved about Peter. And what we admire. He was a man of faith. In spite of his sin and weakness he threw himself on the mercy of Christ. That’s why Jesus used him in such a unique and powerful way.

How did a man who so often said the wrong thing become the foremost messenger for the Son of God? Today we’re going to read the story of the day Jesus called Peter to follow him.

But this text is more than just Peter’s story.

In this section of Luke that shows Jesus gathering his disciples we learn some critical lessons about the kind of people that Jesus draws into his service. Through Peter’s example we’ll learn what our own response to Jesus should be. And we’ll see our Savior’s purpose for those who follow him.

You can listen to the rest of the message here. As always, your comments related to the message are welcome.

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