I really love Peter. It is so easy for us, in retrospect, to snipe at him for his antics, but I have been thinking a lot about him lately. Peter strikes me as a man who had given himself over entirely to follow Jesus. He rightly vested in Christ all of his hopes and dreams. So much so that when asked if he were going to leave Jesus, he responded, “Where else can we go? You have the words of life.” Peter was exactly right; Jesus is the only way to life. All other paths are leading directly to sin and death.
Yet much of Peter’s ideas of discipleship were colored by his own misguided expectations and misunderstandings. Jesus had a habit of turning those expectations upside down, and we frequently find Peter struggling to reconcile what Jesus was doing and teaching with his own preconceived notions of the way things were supposed to be.
In John 13, we see this misunderstanding clearly demonstrated. Jesus stooped to the level of a servant and approached Peter to wash his feet. Peter immediately (and somewhat impulsively, I think) responded that this wasn’t right. According to all he understood, the rabbis, teachers, and great people of his day didn’t ever do such things. It was unbecoming of their status and position, and Jesus was even greater than these. In Peter’s eyes, this request was an affront to the accepted order of things.
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