Jesus saw potential in a first century fisherman. According to Matthew 4:18-20, Peter and his brother Andrew were the first two disciples called by Jesus. While asking his twelve disciples a question, Peter is the first to answer correctly in Matthew 16:15-16. Jesus goes on to refer to Peter as a spiritual rock in Matthew 16:18. Yet, when a crisis arrived, Peter fell just like Adam and Eve in Matthew 16:22-23, a foreshadowing of Peter’s future denial of Jesus in Matthew 26:69-75.
[You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations, 7 So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed, 1 Peter 1:6-7.
Peter writes about his failure in the today’s passage. These words appear to come from a humbler and mature man of God. Whether Peter learned this from his conversation with Jesus in John 21 following the resurrection or time reflecting upon past mistakes, trials are necessary in order for Christians to grow spiritually. Likewise, Jesus’ earthly brother who doubted his older sibling also speaks to the role that temptations play in your life. This determines where you run when a crisis arrives.
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. 3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing, James 1:2-4.
While attending college at the University of Delaware, I met many Christians who used the phrase “Jesus in my crutch.” As someone who has broken my ankle and leg, I know the uncomfortable feeling of relying on crutches to walk until I got my casts off. Then I abandoned these crutches into a closet until my next accident. Yet, Jesus should be my crutch whether I’m healthy or hurt. The moment my Bible collects dust, or my prayers cease, I’m trusting myself and not God. The next time a crisis arises, may you run to God.
by Jay Mankus