67 - Peter, a very Human Man

We saw with the four crucified with Christ that all available information on any given subject isn't always recorded in every record, and that to build a full picture in our minds we have to pull all the records together. There is much in the word about Peter and we're now going to find out what kind of a man he was by pulling all the information together. First of all, let's dispel a myth about him.

Matthew 4:18-20
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

On reading this you might be tempted to think that Jesus Christ was some kind of wizard who went around hypnotising people, and that Peter was gullible and trotted off after Jesus on a whim. This is far from the truth because Peter and Jesus Christ had met many times before this event, and they were well acquainted. The first time the two men met was weeks, possibly months earlier. That record is in John.

John 1:35-42
Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.

He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone [Greek - petros].

While we're here, John also records where Peter was born and raised.

John 1:44
Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.


Map copyright Biblos.com

So, we know Peter and Jesus Christ were well acquainted before Jesus extended the invitation to follow him and become a fisher of men. Peter was in fact already a disciple, someone who was already following Jesus. The invitation to become a fisher of men therefore was an invitation to something more, it was an invitation to leadership, an invitation to do the work of the ministry full time. The word records that Peter had no problem with that. He already had enough knowledge of the word and enough experience working with Jesus to make an intelligent and informed decision. He left his nets and followed him.

What else can we learn about Peter's background? Well, from Matthew and Luke we learn that he was married and that he was in a business partnership with James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

Matthew 8:14,15
And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.

And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

Luke 5:9,10a
For he [Peter] was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon.

Now we're beginning to get a feel for the man. He was from Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee, he had his own fishing business, and he was married. Being an Israeli he would have had a beard, and being a fisherman he would have been weather hardened and tough, a no nonsense man as fishermen tend to be. From all this we can safely assume that Peter wasn't in some kind of trance in Matthew 4 when he accepted Jesus Christ's offer to become a fisher of men and trotted off after him.

To further corroborate this truth, consider that Jesus hadn't done so much as one single miracle yet when Peter first decided to follow him. The record in John chapter 1 which records Jesus and Peter meeting for the first time was before Jesus' first miracle when he turned water into wine. Jesus already had a following of disciples before he performed any miracles.

John 2:1-11
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:

And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.

And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews [Judeans], containing two or three firkins apiece.

Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

See, Peter had already decided to follow Jesus and become a disciple before he had actually seen any miracles. It was the teaching of the word that attracted Peter and prompted him to become a disciple, not witnessing a few miracles. What attracted you to the word? It is the word that changes people, not seeing miracles. If you want to help people, don't spend your days wishing you could perform miracles just so you can impress people, teach them the word. That's what Jesus did. The signs, miracles and wonders came later.

It wasn't seeing miracles that convinced Sergius Paulus to follow Paul and Barnabas on Crete either, it was the teaching of the word. Read it, it says he was astonished at the doctrine of the Lord, not that he was astonished at the blinding of Elymas the sorcerer.

Acts 13:12
Then the deputy [Sergius Paulus], when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

When I started writing this teaching I wasn't looking for new light as I didn't think I needed any to handle this subject. Yet there's God, energising in me to will and to do of his good pleasure, teaching me the word so I can teach you. I never realised before now that Jesus' disciples followed him before they had ever seen any miracles done by him. Jesus Christ had a large following of disciples long before he ever did any miracles. What can we learn from this astonishing new perspective? Plenty. Consider this verse in Romans.

Romans 10:17
So then faith [believing]
cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Believing doesn't come by seeing miracles, it comes by hearing the word of God. That's what the word says and that's what the word means. We hear the word, it builds our believing, and as our believing grows we see the signs, miracles and wonders. See how this makes complete sense? Jesus Christ taught the word, and as believing grew in his disciples and in those around them, doors opened for him to perform signs, miracles and wonders. This doesn't happen in reverse. Signs, miracles and wonders follow believers, but how believing grows is from hearing the word of God. Think about that.

So, Andrew introduced his brother Peter to Jesus in John chapter 1. Some time after that, after much teaching, Jesus approached Peter and invited him to become a fisher of men by working full time with him as he carried out his ministry. Jesus Christ had recognised the leadership potential in Peter and invited him to work full time with him.

Matthew 4:18-20
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Between Jesus' and Peter's first meeting and this record in Matthew, Jesus Christ had met Philip and Nathanael, performed the miracle of wine at the wedding in Capernaum, had travelled to Jerusalem for Passover and had a chat with Nicodemus, had gone out into the countryside where the word records that his disciples water baptized, he had left Judea for a while where he met the woman at the well, had returned to Galilee and performed his second miracle, and he had opened his public ministry and confronted the people in his home town of Nazareth for their unbelief. So Peter had seen and heard some amazing stuff before Jesus Christ invited him to become a fisher of men. Peter had spent enough time with Jesus and had enough knowledge of the word to make an informed and intelligent freewill decision to leave his life as a fisherman and go work full time with Jesus Christ.

Now, although Peter responded to the invitation and followed him, he later left Jesus and went back to his fishing business. A few weeks later, Jesus invited him a second time to leave his business and work full time with him doing the work of the ministry.

Luke 5:1-3
And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him [Jesus Christ] to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret [the Sea of Galilee], 

And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

Jesus Christ was surrounded by so many people, he borrowed Peter's boat so he could teach. They anchored the boat a little offshore, Jesus and the people made themselves comfortable, and he taught them out of the boat. Peter was right there with him, listening to every word.

Luke 5:4
Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

After the teaching, it was time to repay Peter for the use of his boat. God never takes something for nothing and Peter was to be rewarded for his giving. Jesus Christ told him to let down his nets. Notice that Jesus told him to let down his nets, plural, all his nets. Peter had more than one net.

Luke 5:5
And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

Will you just look at that! Peter humoured Jesus Christ. I get humoured all the time. Folks just can't seem to see the word in people because they have been conditioned by religion to think of spiritual men as some kind of weird beings with creepy eyes and halos around their heads. What do you picture when you think of Jesus Christ? Some tall white man with long hair and flowing robes? Religion puts that picture into folks heads. Jesus Christ looked nothing like this creepy asshole.

If you carry images like this of Jesus around in your mind, you need to get that creepy religious horseshit out of your life. For a start, Jesus Christ was not white, he was Semitic, he was an Israelite. He probably looked something like this.

Peter just couldn't see the word in Jesus Christ, just as people today can't see the word in me. Even I have trouble seeing the word in people. We are conditioned to seeing everything through our eyes and evaluating everything with our five senses, so it's not surprising that we can't see the spiritual things going on in people. Peter was the expert on fishing and he politely put Jesus in his place. To humour him though, he let down a net, one single net.

Luke 5:5-7
And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 

And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.

And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

They caught so many fish their net broke. Can you imagine how many fish they would have caught had they put down all their nets? They caught so many fish that they had to call for help and both boats began to sink. I've caught a few salmon in my day and I know that two boats filled with fresh salmon would be worth many thousands of pounds. Do you think this had an impact on Peter? Do you think he was finally beginning to see the word in Jesus Christ?

Luke 5:8-11
When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

This fishers of men is really interesting. Being an ambassador for Christ in this administration is automatic. I am an ambassador for Jesus Christ regardless of how good or how bad a job I do. However, to become a fisher of men is something that must be learned, it is an art that can be refined and practiced. At this point, Peter again made the decision to dedicate his life to the word. He left his home and fishing business and again followed Jesus Christ full time.

People don't change overnight. It doesn't happen. Peter didn't change overnight. Nor did Jesus Christ expect him to. He just kept working with him, even when he ran off back to his fishing business.

It takes time to work with people, to teach them the word, to live the word with them before they begin to see it. Raising disciples takes time. It can take years. We must love people enough to keep teaching them and showing them until they see it for themselves. You can't make anyone be a disciple, it is a decision they make for themselves. Jesus Christ saw the leadership potential in Peter and worked with him and taught him and encouraged him until he made the decision for himself. Jesus Christ didn't expect him to be perfect either, and when he ran off home to his old way of life, he filled his net with fish and gave him another chance.

At this point we had better clear something up. In this Administration of the Mystery, this Administration of Grace, we are not asked to drop everything and run off after some dude in robes wandering around the countryside teaching the bible. That was how Jesus Christ worked during the Christ Administration, but it is not how we work during this administration. God has set up family style home churches where we teach the word and raise disciples in a family setting.

Running a home church is doing the work of the ministry in this administration, and homes require money to keep them in good order and to pay the bills. Therefore we are to work so we can earn money to keep our homes comfortable. Paul worked with Aquila and Priscilla as a saddle maker in Corinth to keep money coming in as he established new home churches. Not even Paul operated the same way Jesus Christ did in the gospels. In the first century the believers had jobs and established churches in their homes. They were never asked to leave everything and run off into the wilderness.

As we're back on the subject of money, let's explore it a little further. Believers who go to a home church are to give God's money to the home church leader to steward and spend as God energises in him to will and to do of his good pleasure. Remember, it's God's money so he can spend it any way he damn well pleases. Our job is to walk by the spirit so we know how God wants his money spent. It is not unusual for God to want to contribute to the running costs of a home to keep it functional, comfortable and clean so his word can be taught in a homely environment. God's money is to be kept and used at the home church level to do the work of the ministry.

When home churches grow and homes become too small to hold everyone, or if there are so many people that some are not getting their needs met in a timely manner, then the home church splits in two and a new home church is born. The original home church leader is now not only responsible for his own home church, but also for the new home church leaders as they get to grips with their spiritual responsibilities. He will know these people very well, most likely because he witnessed to them and taught them how to walk by the spirit, and he is still responsible to keep a spiritual eye on them, to get in there and help when they need it.

The next time these two home churches split and there are four home churches, the original home church leader may find himself so busy he might have to consider working only part time at his job so he has more time for the work of the ministry. If that's the case, then his living expenses would have to be supplemented from the money being shared between the four home churches. That's what it's there for.

As the word continues to grow, and the numbers of believers and disciples increase and multiply, it is quite likely that full time ministers will be needed to ensure the work of the ministry continues to grow unhindered and everyone has all their needs met. These ministers are not some dudes with flashy nametags sent from the headquarters of temples made with hands, they are the men and women who have built that ministry work from the ground up. It is those men and women who are entitled to be supported from God's money which is held at the home church level. They are the labourers who are worthy of their hire, not some spiritual bums stuck behind desks thousands of miles away at the headquarters of temples made with hands who have done absolutely nothing to help you move the word in your area.

If there is a need for full time ministers, then the home church leadership are to get together and figure out who and how much they are to be paid. Home churches are to be self supporting, self governing and self propagating, and everyone is to prove their own work. This is only possible if we all walk by the spirit with Christ as our head. You can't legislate this stuff because every situation is different.

Paul was working full time moving the word in Corinth, and yet God told him not to touch the money in the home churches even though he was entitled to it. Instead, God told him to ask for help from home churches in other areas. Paul walked by the spirit. See it? You just can't legislate this stuff. Man can take his rules and stupid regulations and shove them up his fucking ass. This will only work if we walk by the spirit.

2 Corinthians 11:8,9
I robbed other churches, taking wages
of them, to do you service.

And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

Home churches will continue to grow and split for as long as the home church leader who began the work is capable of overseeing things. If for some reason a leader can no longer do the work of the ministry, either because they move to other areas to begin new work as Paul did frequently, through retirement or death, or for any other reason, the existing home church leaders are then to become responsible for their own work and build the body of Christ as they are able without any interference from without. This is unbelievably important. Everyone must prove their own work and be responsible for it.

Some people will only be able or willing to handle one home church, and that's fine. However, it's unlikely they will be required to work full time doing the work of the ministry unless, of course, they have dozens of believers under their care. Some leaders will be capable of handling and overseeing hundreds of home churches, and the home churches they build up are to support them as they work full time doing what they need to do. Once they leave their position, the existing leadership take responsibility for the work they have built without any interference from without. All home churches are to be self governing, self supporting, and self propagating.

Of course, as home churches grow and the numbers of believers increase, God will give gift ministries to the church to look after the saints, for the work of the ministry and for the building up of the body of Christ. One or two of them may also be required to work full time so that everyone gets their spiritual needs met and the work of the ministry is done.

Always remember, these gift ministries are the higher powers of Romans 13 and the home church leaders are to submit themselves to them and pay tribute where it's needed and take care of them from God's money. In return the home churches are taken care of spiritually. Cut off the gift ministries and you will not survive in the spiritual competition. If you're a home church leader and you think you can do it all by yourself without their help, you need to rethink how you're doing things. The love of money is the root of all evil, so keep greed out of your life and spend God's money as he wants it spent. The following scriptures from Corinthians deal exclusively with God's money.

2 Corinthians 8:1-3
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;

How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;

The believers in the first century even shared God's money between different areas as needs came up. You can't understand this unless you walk by the spirit. Notice also that Paul had absolutely no control over God's money because he was not responsible for it, the home churches were.

2 Corinthians 8:4-8
Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and
take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.

Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

To prove the sincerity of your love is to put your money where your mouth is. When God energises in you to do something with his money, are you going to withhold it or are you going to spend it as he wants it spent? One is walking by the senses, one is walking by the spirit. It's none of your business how God spends his money, it's your business to steward it properly and walk by the spirit.

2 Corinthians 8:9-12
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.

Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.

For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

We obviously don't give until we have need ourselves, that would be ridiculous and God certainly does not expect it from us.

2 Corinthians 8:13-15
For
I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:

But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:

As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

How we handle money will ultimately determine how the word will move. If we can't get our minds off ourselves and start looking after our brothers and sisters in Christ, the word will never live.

We are a family. We're supposed to look after each other and care for each other and love each other as families. We are to be living life every day in our home churches as families. We're supposed to be going out together, eating together, watching movies together as a family. If we start living life as families, the word will live.

Acts 2:44-47
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

These verses are the word of God, not the word of George. The verses don't even require any teaching, they are self-explanatory, they interpret themselves quite clearly. In our home churches, we have to start loving each other as families and we have to start living life together as families. If we only see each other once or twice a week at a stupid meeting, the word will never move in a thousand years. Might as well go to church.

It's time to start giving our lives to others and allowing others into our lives on a daily basis, living life together as families and having all things common. As others see us living life together as families, they will want to be a part of it. That's how the word moves.

Galatians 6:10
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

To reiterate a point we've already touched on, no one is to walk into positions of responsibility in the body of Christ who has not first proven their own work. That is how man-made temples operate, but it is not how the body of Christ is to function. God gives the increase to those who are doing the planting and watering. If God gives you increase, then those people are your responsibility until they mature and can walk by the spirit for themselves. We are all to prove our own work. That's what the word says and that's what the word means.

Galatians 6:3-5
For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

For every man shall bear his own burden.

This is the only way to keep the wolves from God's people. The love of money is the root of all evil, and once you have an area with a few home churches established there is going to be a lot of money in God's petty cash tin. God's money isn't there to keep lazy bums and arrogant pricks who think they know everything in comfortable lifestyles at everyone else's expense. If you are a home church leader you have a responsibility to keep the wolves away from God's kids so do your job, walk by the spirit, and keep those fuckers away from your home churches. If they're so spiritual, let them prove their own work by establishing their own home church.

James 2:17,18
Even so faith [believing], if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith [believing], and I have works: shew me thy faith [believing] without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith [believing] by my works.

If they're walking by the spirit, the increase will be there and you will see it because the word guarantees it.

1 Corinthians 3:5-8
Who then is Paul, and who
is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

You can't make hard and fast rules about this stuff though, you can't legislate it, you can't have written procedures, you have to be walking by the spirit to see it as every situation will be different. When we walk by the spirit, this stuff is easy. God may only give increase to those he knows will do the job, but in an emergency, he may just ask someone to step in unannounced to help out. That's what the gift ministries are for. Counsels of men don't decide these things, God decides them and gives orders to men and women walking by the spirit. That's why we make Christ our head, that's the key to understanding this.

Look, I've had it with lazy bums and spiritual hitchhikers with flashy nametags. If you're such an amazing leader, get out there and prove your own work, get a home church established and move the word. Let's see how spiritual you are. Jesus Christ proved his own work. He wasn't so high and mighty he could plant his backside behind a desk and tell everyone else to go do the work of the ministry, he was out there showing them how to do the work of the ministry. He was a leader, not a boss.

Matthew 20:25-28
But Jesus called them
unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Jesus Christ was this kind of leader and he moved the word. He gave his life for people and spent time with them every day. He didn't just talk about the word, he lived it. He saw in Peter leadership potential and worked with him patiently, teaching him the word and showing him how to apply it practically in his life. Peter, like all of us, was human, he wasn't perfect anymore than we are, and that's okay with God.

In Matthew 4, Jesus Christ invited Peter to follow him and he would make him a fisher of men. The word records that Peter straightway left his nets. Yet a few weeks later, Peter was back at his fishing business. Jesus came along, borrowed his boat, filled his net with fish and Peter once again left all to follow him. It's just so human. That wasn't the last time Peter would leave the work of the ministry and run off back to his old way of life either, as we shall see.

As well as his wavering nature (I couldn't resist the pun), Peter also had a habit of speaking out of turn, and Jesus Christ had to publicly sort him out on one or two occasions.

Mark 8:31-33
And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and
of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.

But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

Will you look at that. Peter took a stand against Jesus Christ and tried to sort him out in front of the other disciples. If it wasn't recorded in the word, I wouldn't have believed it. Jesus Christ had to take a strong stand sometimes with Peter. He never gave up on him though, he kept working with him and kept teaching him the word.

Some folks think Jesus Christ built his church on Peter, but that's not what the word teaches at all. That's what the vatican teaches, but it's more of that dribbly religious horseshit they seem to enjoy drip feeding their people. Jesus Christ didn't build his church on Peter, he built it on himself.

Matthew 16:18
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [petros], and upon this rock [petra] I will build my church; and the gates of hell [death] shall not prevail against it. 

Petros refers to small grain sized bits of stone, like sand, which are blown around on the wind. Petra is a solid rock which no storm can move. Jesus Christ told Peter he was a petros, a grain sized piece of sand which was blown around with the wind. Then he told Peter that he himself, Jesus Christ was a petra, a solid mass of rock, and on himself, the petra, he would build his church and the gates of death would not be able to prevail against it.

See, it took time for Peter to get the word engrained in his soul and established in his heart. It takes time to raise disciples. That's why we must work with people in families, in home churches, where we can work with them and teach them the word. We have to give our lives to people if we ever want to see them become disciples. They have to see the word in our lives as we live the word. It's no different to raising children in earthly families. That's what it takes to raise disciples and it can take years. Each one win one is the only way to do this thing. This isn't about filling football stadiums and preaching to tens of thousands, it's about working with people one on one as parents with children.

To put this into perspective for you, Jesus Christ was perfect and he worked with twelve men as he moved the word and ministered, yet even he lost one of them, Judas Iscariot. To give you an idea of how good he was, I suggest you work with one person at a time. If you can handle two or three, great, but forget about filling football stadiums or establishing world wide ministries with thousands of people. This is about running home churches and raising disciples in families, where folks live the word together every day.

Despite his big mouth and vacillating nature, Jesus Christ had no hang ups or problems working with Peter. Towards the end of his ministry, after Peter had been with him for months, Jesus told the disciples he was going to be arrested and killed. He wanted to prepare them for what was coming because he cared about their hearts.

Mark 14:27-31
And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.

But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.

But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.

And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.

But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.

Did Peter deny him? Oh yes, he sure did.

Matthew 26:73-75
And after a while came unto
him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.

Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.

And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

Where was Peter after the resurrection? He was hiding behind closed doors for fear of the Judeans, for fear of the same men who had just had Jesus Christ murdered by the Romans. He was afraid for his life. Peter was very human.

John 20:19
Then the same day at evening, being the first
day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews [Judeans], came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

Some time after that, even after seeing the resurrected Christ and talking to him, Peter once again chucked it all in and went back to his fishing business and his old way of life. That's Peter.

John 21:3-7
Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. 

But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.

And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

Once Peter knew it was Jesus Christ standing on the shore, he just chucked himself overboard. No matter what he did, he just couldn't get away from the guy. How his heart must have crunched when he realised it was Jesus again. That wasn't the first time Jesus had filled his nets with fish either, was it?

John 21:8-12
And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.

As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.

Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.

Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.

Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.

Look at how Jesus Christ dealt with Peter and the others after they'd run off to make a few bucks and get on with their old ways of life. He didn't lecture them, he found them by the seaside after a long night of catching nothing and made them breakfast.

John 21:13-15
Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.

This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs [male lambs].

Once they were all seated, Jesus Christ eventually brought things back to the word and confronted Peter. He asked Peter if he loved his old way of life and his fishing business more than he loved the work of the ministry. When Peter told him the word was first, Jesus Christ told him to feed his male lambs. He then pressed him again, a second time.

John 21:16
He saith to him again the second time, Simon,
son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep [female lambs].

He then pressed him again, a third time.

John 21:17
He saith unto him the third time, Simon,
son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep [adult sheep].

Did Peter eventually respond and give his life to the word? Oh yes. Just look at the man he became in the book of Acts. Where would we be today without Peter's life and ministry? The time Jesus Christ spent teaching him, confronting him and bringing him back to the word when he needed it was time well spent. The time we spend with people, teaching them, confronting them and bringing them back to the word when it's needed is also time well spent.

I trust you now have a deeper appreciation of how human Peter and all the other men and women mentioned in the bible really were. They were not supermen or superwomen, they were human, just as we are. Even Jesus Christ was human. Always remember that the people we work with are human, just like Peter, just like we are. Walk by the spirit and raise disciples with patience and love, despite their being human. Work with them in home church families as earthly parents do with their children until they can walk by the spirit on their own two feet and believe God for themselves. Even then we're still family and we always look out for each other.

Chapter 68 - British Olympic Opening Cermemony