Spiritual Growth: It’s rocky!
Peter was a bold disciple of Jesus, but it wasn’t always this way. There are times that Peter is brilliant, bold, and courageous, and there are other times when everything he did was rebuked by Jesus. He was the first to confess Jesus as not just another political leader, not just another rising star, but as “The Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16)”, and Jesus calls Him blessed for this. Yet, right after this confession, Jesus tells him just what this “Christ, the Son of the living God” would have to do; “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life (Matthew 16:21).” Jesus tested Peter’s faith and showed him that the Savior of the world might not be what he and everyone was expecting Him to be. He might not find success in this world, because Jesus was actually building a Kingdom not of this world, guaranteeing eternal life, not just the best life now. Has your faith been tested by Jesus? Have you expected Jesus to be something He is not; to work in a certain way in your life or provide what you think is best? What happened when you didn’t receive what you expected? Were you driven closer to Jesus or further away? The times that Peter found his faith tested by Jesus, were the times when Peter grew the closest to Jesus and the closet to His will. Part of our spiritual growth and maturity in Christ is to desire God’s will to be done and not our own. We often say that God’s will is always best for us, but to live this message and receive what we don’t expect signals a turning point in our relationship with Jesus. Peter’s name literally means “little rock” and in Matthew 16:18, Jesus tells him that one day Peter will be an unmovable mountain of faith and that Christ’s church would be built up on His confession of faith. This is fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when Peter boldly stands up to the very leaders who put Jesus to death, proclaiming that Jesus rose from the dead. Now that’s a bold move! On that same day though, 3,000 were added to the small band of 11 disciples, beginning the growth of Christ’s church. Those words of Jesus resonate prophetically “on this rock I will build my church and that gates of Hades will not overcome it (Matthew 16:18)!” The Day of Pentecost is the day that Peter was as imposing as a mountain and God used his bold confession to bring a great multitude to faith in Jesus. Peter had come a long way in his spiritual growth, but this success would never have happened if Peter had not gone through all the hardship, pain, and suffering first. Jesus tests our faith in the difficult times to make us grow, for His testing always has a great purpose; that His plans will be done in us, through us, and for His glory. Peter’s spiritual growth was a little rocky, literally! Has your spiritual growth been rocky at times? Stake your claim on Jesus Christ, for He is like no other; He is the Son of the living God! He doesn’t just move mountains; He makes mountains out of His faithful servants, just like He did with Peter.