"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." -2 Corinthians 4:7
I'm really thankful for Peter. Sometimes I have awesome moments where I am able to be that earthen vessel, plain and available, emptied of self, so that God's wisdom and grace can shine through me. And sometimes I am a holy screwup. I say that lovingly because I am holy, set apart by grace, even in my biggest screwup moments. But that is why I'm thankful for Peter. Peter was a holy screwup too.
- Just like me, Peter lacked faith to follow Christ boldly. He chose to fear the wind and water, rather than trust in the Power of Christ. (Matthew 14:25-32).
- Just like me, Peter put his foot in his mouth. He rebuked Jesus for his plan to die on a cross! And He got scolded for it. Ouch. (Matthew 16:20-23).
- Just like me, Peter speaks even when he doesn't know what to say. When Christ is transfigured and glorified in front of Peter, with Moses and Elijah talking to him on the mountaintop, Peter speaks out of turn, offering to build three tabernacles. While Peter is still speaking, God's voice interrupts him, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" Basically, God is saying, "Shut up Peter. It's Jesus who needs to speak right now." How many times that happens to me! (Matthew 17:1-5).
- Just like me, Peter didn't fully understand Christ's plan. He cut off the servant's ear when they came to capture Jesus. (John 18:10-11).
- Just like me, Peter chose self-protection over faithfulness to Christ. He denied three times that he was a follower of Christ. (Mark 14:66-72).
- Just like me, Peter acted on rash impulses. He jumps out of the boat in a frenzy to get to Jesus, while the other disciples calmly row the boat the short way to shore. Why the rush Peter? You may have gotten there a few minutes faster, but now you're wet. Ah me, Peter, why are we so rash? (John 21:7-8).
- Just like me, Peter grieved his mistakes. He grieved when Christ asked three times if Peter loved him, in an echo of the three denials Peter had earlier made of loving Christ. (John 21:15-17).
- Just like me, Peter had to be corrected, sometimes publicly. He was being a hypocrite by eating with the Gentiles only when important Jews weren't around. Worse than that, as a leader, Peter was influencing others to do the same. Paul called him out "face to face." Again, ouch. (Galatians 2:11-21).
But, just like me, Peter, holy screwup that he is, can still be used by God! Christ tells Peter he will be the foundation of His church and hold the keys of the kingdom (Matthew 16:15-19). Peter's first act after receiving the Holy Spirit was that he preached a message that brought 3,000 new souls into the kingdom (Acts 2:14-41). Peter had an amazing ministry of healing, teaching, and leading. He wrote some of the Bible itself. He was the founding father of the church, the followers of Christ.
Now that's a holy screwup! I'm in good company. I may not be the rock on which the church is going to be built, I may not lead 3,000 souls to Christ, but I am certain God has a plan to use me for his kingdom. Use me, God! Help me be faithful, available, and teachable, and to let You do the rest. Help me be the earthen vessel, or as my aunt says, the cracked pot, and let Your glory shine.