Just weeks before we saw Peter deny his Lord in spite of his insistence that he would never deny Jesus. In this Peter showed how little he knew himself, and yet in 1 Peter he writes, "If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rest on you." this is not the old Peter that we see! This is the very Spirit of Jesus breathing and speaking through him. But he doesn't stop there, "But rejoice in as much as you participate in the suffering of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." This is not the same Peter at all!
I encourage you friends, to truly look at the life of Peter and see a man utterly changed! The self-pleasing, the self-seeking the trusting in self is gone! Peter was filled with the Spirit and the life of Jesus. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and Peter was a brand new man. Peter's story has to be the story of everyone of us who truly want to be crucified with Jesus and have Him living in our lives. Peter's life teaches us a couple lessons that I would like to briefly consider.
The first lesson: We can be earnest, godly, devoted believers and still have the power of self very strong in our lives.
This is a sobering, scary thought to me! Just shortly before Peter denied Jesus, he had cast out devils and healed the sick; and yet the power of self, the love for self caused him to betray his Lord. Dear Church Family we must realize that even though we love our Lord. Even tough we honestly desire to live for Jesus; it is possible that the self-life in us can keep the power of God from doing the mighty work that He so much wants to do. Our God wants more than anything else to double and triple His blessing. He wants to give us ten times the blessing we have allowed Him to give us so far!
We have talked about Peter's pride; we talk of how impetuous he was. How self-confident he was. And it all came down to one thing, self! Jesus said, "Deny self." Peter didn't get it, and every failing he had came from that!
Andrew Murray puts it this way, "What a solemn thought, and what an urgent plea for us to cry: O God, do discover this to us, that none of us may be living the self-life! It has happened to many a one who had been a Christian for years, who had perhaps occupied a prominent position, that God found him out and taught him to find himself out, and he became utterly ashamed, falling down broken before God. Oh, the bitter shame and sorrow and pain and agony that came to him, until at last he found that there was deliverance! Peter went out and wept bitterly, and there may be many a godly one in whom the power of the flesh still rules." Absolute Surrender page 56
As I have read through the life of Peter I am convicted that these words are talking about me. That I must allow the Holy Spirit to fill my life with Jesus, as I have not allowed Him to do up to now. I am ashamed to admit it, but transparency trumps shame every time!
The second lesson: It is the work of our lovely Savior Jesus through the Holy Spirit to root out the self-life.
How was it that the self-willed, self-loving Peter became the courageous Peter of Pentecost and the writer of first and second Peter? It was because Peter allowed Jesus to take control of his life. It started with that look of love at his betrayal of Jesus and Peter was broken and wept bitterly. It then continued throughout the rest of Peter's life.
And the beautiful, lovely Jesus who led Peter to Pentecost is waiting to take charge of our lives if we are willing to surrender our self-life, our self- comfort, our self-pleasing and self-will to Him!
Let me close with Andrew Murray's answer: "It is Christ Jesus who can rid you of it; none else but Christ Jesus can give deliverance from the power of self. And what does He ask you to do? He ask that you should humble yourself before Him."