March 27, 2010

Peter the Rock and Me

Other than Jesus, my favorite personality in the Bible is Peter, one of the central figures in all of scripture. That’s because I can relate to Peter’s numerous imperfections and human frailties.

To begin with, Peter was impulsive. The night Jesus was arrested Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of a high priest's slave. There he was, the founder of the Church and the man Jesus called his Rock, wielding a sword. It gives new meaning to the hymn Onward Christian Soldiers.

After Jesus was arrested, Peter denied knowing him. The third time he was accused Peter cursed and swore an oath. The phrase, “Swears like a sailor” is not based on fantasy.

Paul charged Peter with being a hypocrite. He said Peter acted like a Gentile when he was among Gentiles and like a Jew when he was with Jews.

Yes, the New Testament describes Peter as a blundering, impulsive, hypocrite whose vocabulary was not always polite or refined. Substitute my name for his, and you have described me.

The amazing thing is that God chose this mass of quivering Jell-O to be his Rock. It is just as astonishing to realize that God chooses to forgive me and to offer me another opportunity to live the life Christ wants me to live.