life of Peter is seen the most profound demonstration of humility ever
in the history of man
Simon called Peter was a devout Jew who was raised in the
pharisaical system of Judaism. He honored the law of Moses. He obeyed implicitly the Ten Commandments. And he later rejoiced
to learn that it was Jesus Himself who gave to the human race the Ten Commandment Law, as Jesus spoke to the religious leaders
of Judea, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Jn.8:58.
the laws of health specified in the book of Leviticus Peter was meticulous. But Peter was also trapped in a religious system
that had completely undermined GOD'S counsel in the Sacred Scriptures, producing a version of religious law that guaranteed
the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. A thousand laws outside of Bible guidelines were imposed on the Jewish nation:
300 rules for Sabbath keeping alone.
These laws placed a burden on men
that GOD never commanded to exist. The burden was so wearisome that many who cast this yoke from them also cast away their
faith in God. In addition, the pharisaical system fostered pride and prejudice against the Gentile world that ran so deep
in the veins of the Jews that even Peter, after the day of Pentecost, with the Holy Spirit residing in his soul, still needed
a personal revelation from GOD to be delivered from his prejudice trained from his upbringing.
Of this moment the Bible says, "Peter went up upon the house top to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry,
and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending
unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted
beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter;
kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake
unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was
received up again into heaven. Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold,
the men which were sent from Cornelius [a Gentile] had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate."
Immediately after this when Peter met with the brethren he said, "God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common
or unclean." Acts 10:9-17, 28.
The transformation of human character into the similitude of Christ is a lifetime work. Knowledge is progressive. Through
all eternity new revelations of truth will come to light. And even though imperfection is evident in the avid follower of
Jesus Christ, this does not remove the fact that their heart is right with GOD through maintaining the virtue of humility
before Him. They are, in the eyes of heaven, a "saint." Every true follower of the LORD and Savior is a "saint."
You don't have to pass some litmus test of man's Unbiblical examination to receive this noble title.
Saint Peter's trade was that of a
fisherman. He toiled in that labor, working long hours with no guarantee of filling his nets. Also, there was the real threat
of drowning in the sea from the storms that could suddenly appear without warning. The fisherman's life was not easy.
After his daily labor he would come home to his wife and mother in law. Thus, the destiny of his life on earth was decided
as so many were before him. He was to die leaving the legacy of living the life of a simple fisherman. But his life was
to take a drastic turn that would carry him to the front lines of the great conflict between Jesus Christ and the archdeceiver,
Satan. Peter was called to take up a new livelihood. And to this calling, he was, in the end, the victorious disciple of Christ.
introduced to Jesus by his brother Andrew who was a disciple of John the Baptist. Andrew told his brother, "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." Jn.1:41,42. They then parted
company for a time. At their next meeting Jesus came to him and his brother Andrew when they had just returned from
a long, taxing venture casting their nets into the sea for many hours, but to no avail. They returned with nothing. Jesus
spoke to Peter and said to him, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 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. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man,
O Lord." Jesus said, "Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men." The Savior provided Peter with the evidence
to establish faith in Himself, plus provide for Peter's family a tidy sum of money, giving the financial stability to
allow Peter to begin the work of the Gospel at the side of Christ the LORD.
With the personal tutoring of Jesus Christ, Peter learned
many wonderful lessons. But the most important lesson for Peter was also the hardest: to not trust in himself: his own strength:
his own understanding, his own prejudices, for the battle that was being waged for his soul he little understood at the time.
At one time he even spoke the words that Satan himself placed in his mouth, at which time Jesus had to chide the devil
for corrupting the mind of his beloved disciple (Matt.16:23).
Jesus gave many lessons on the subject of Satan’s jurisdiction over the lives of men and how we are to be vigilant to
keep our guard up concerning his manipulations through temptations, impulse and false ideas. But Christ’s Words to His
disciples could not reach the marrow of their bones until the resurrection and ascension of Christ, who, at that time gave
the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Of that great illuminating time for the fallen race Jesus said, “He shall guide
you into all truth.” Through the presence of the "Comforter" Who continually refines our character through
the vigilant prayerful study of GOD'S Word can a man be fit for godly perfection as Paul admonished: “All Scripture
is given by inspiration of God…that the man of God may be perfect…”
And yet, Biblical illiteracy threatens the salvation
of all. This danger is repeatedly affirmed in GOD'S word: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death," "for wide is the
gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat." And yet, the remedy to
the threat is well within the reach of all, as it is written, "Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one
of these shall fail." Isa.34:16. The pride of man is the leading reason for the illiteracy whose bitter fruits are the
needless suffering and loss of life for “the kingdom of heaven.” This is a lesson that is so common to the ruin
of men, and yet most are blind to the threat, falsely assuring themselves that they are on safe ground. The Savior addressed
this great danger, even to the churches of today, "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have
need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked."
The fact remains that man is incapable of any righteousness in and of his own strength. It must be drawn from us as the LORD
gave prophecy: “with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jer.31:3. This is illustrative of the great need of the
Presence of GOD through the power of the Holy Spirit. To embrace the virtue of humility allows any man into the presence of
Holiness as the Saviour said: “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Jn.6:37.
This willingness to make ourselves vulnerable and pliable before the teachings of GOD’S Inviolate Word will never be
betrayed by GOD. None who have cried to Him have ever cried in vain as it is written: “Then they cried unto the LORD
in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.” Ps.107:6,13,19,28.
Peter had learned this profound lesson
of humility after the time when he had promised to Jesus with absolute confidence that he would not abandon Him no matter
what obstacles stood in his way, as he said: “LORD, I am ready to go with thee, both to prison, and to death.”
“Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.” Lu.22:33; Matt.26:35. Peter
believed this to be true about himself. But Peter did not understand the flaws of his character, nor the power of sin over
his beliefs in life. And this assurance he extended to his LORD was merely a rope of sand, because Peter did abandon
Jesus in the time of His betrayal, torture, and crucifixion as Christ gave prophecy. Peter's faith in Christ was not fortified
to meet the test and he dishonored the very One he promised to honor by publicly denying Jesus as his LORD three times, even with
prayed for Peter, that his faith would not be swept away and his eternal ruin result from that failure. The Father in heaven
answered the prayer of Jesus for Peter at the very moment Peter denied for the third time his "Master"
(at the place where Jesus was being held prisoner after His arrest). In the book of Luke, chapter 21, we read, "And the
LORD turned and looked upon Peter." At the very moment of Peter's third denial of Christ he turned and saw Jesus
beholding him. Peter focused on the face of his Master. When Peter saw that look in His eyes, the tender expression of His
face, that quiet, merciful countenance showing to Peter the holy depths of unreserved love and forgiveness the Bible
says, "And Peter went out and wept bitterly." The look that Jesus gave to His beloved disciple was not that of condemnation,
anger, or frustration, but one of immeasurable compassion.
denial had brought him to the place where he was most vulnerable to his own destruction; for the waves of guilt were about
to flood the soul of Peter in which suicide would seem the only remedy. But Christ would never betray Peter's vulnerability
just as it was written of the Christ of GOD centuries before His coming: "A bruised reed He will not break, And
smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice and truth."
The sweet expression on Christ’s face melted Peter’s heart, and he left and wept in repentance over his inability
to stand shoulder to shoulder with the one he dearly loved. Christ's love covered Peter’s guilt, nakedness, and
shame. This moment of deliverance was to reign over Peter’s character until the day he died. Peter now understood true
love because he had seen the true glory of the LORD, and His glory is love.
But right after that moment of the Savior's expression of love to
the wounded soul of Peter the Bible says, "And the men that held Jesus mocked Him, and smote Him. And when they had blindfolded
Him, they struck Him on the face, and asked Him saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?" This, dear reader, was
the devil's retribution through his pawns amongmen for the Savior's mercy to His beloved Apostle Peter. Nevertheless
the Saviour’s fate on Earth was set. Crucifixion at the hands of Romans and Jews was to be His lot.
Two days later, after Jesus was raised
from the dead by the power of the Indwelling Holy Spirit [as Paul so clearly said (Rom.8:11)], "Mary Magdalene, and Mary
the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning
on the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, who shall
roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for
it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white
garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified:
he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that
He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you." Mark 16:1-7.
Peter discounted himself from any connection
with the other disciples. He felt that his denial of his "Master" was an unpardonable act as the tradition
of Judaism demanded (outside of Bible guidelines). But the command was given, "tell his disciples and Peter..."
Peter now understood the loftiness of GOD'S love verses that of man's: that GOD'S love is unlimited, unswerving
and undaunted, while man's is limited, futile and failing in nature, as the passage of John 21 fully assures:
when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me [with unselfish love] more than these
[the other disciples]? He saith unto Him [with his head lowered], Yea, LORD; Thou knowest that I love thee [with a limited,
selfish love]. He saith unto him, Feed My lambs. He saith unto him the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me [with
a love that will seek the other's well-being regardless of the cost to yourself]? He saith unto Him, Yea, LORD; Thou knowest
that I love Thee [only with a futile love that exerts in vain]. He saith unto him, Feed My sheep. He saith unto him the third
time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me [with merely a limited, selfish love]? Peter was grieved because He said unto him
the third time, Lovest thou Me [with a failing love]? And he said unto Him, LORD, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that
I love Thee [with the only love I am capable of]. Jesus saith unto him, Feed My sheep."
In Peter's two epistles preserved
for all mankind in the Holy Bible, it is readily seen that his zeal and passion for the Gospel was perfectly blended with
meekness and tenderness. The manner in which Jesus dealt with his human vulnerability greatly fortified the skills needed
to carry out the LORD'S Gospel commission. In those things where we have failed in our lives, looking to GOD for
forgiveness and renewal, He would have us read the words of Paul, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Phil.4:13,14.
The great Apostle Paul well understood the flood of regret that can drown a man’s soul. For prior to his conversion
he was adamantly persecuting the young Christian Church, personally overseeing the imprisonment and death of many followers
of Jesus Christ. So when Jesus came to him, showing Himself as the resurrected LORD of Israel and Saviour of all men,
Paul was haunted with remorse and guilt. His passions could have easily driven him to spend the rest of his life making restitution
for the harm he had done: the families ruined, the properties confiscated, the lives murdered: all this was firmly affixed
in his mind. But the Spirit of GOD led him to immediately begin his work preaching the gospel. He was not to devote his time
to the restitution of those he had harmed. His new-found faith would have made his efforts futile, for the religious system
under the auspices of Satan would have snuffed his efforts. The LORD would get word to those in prison of how the one who
put them there now stands among their number! And they praised GOD for His marvelous mercy in the life of Paul.
And so it was with Peter. The LORD gave him his heavenly assignment, and Peter, with
a tearful heart received the mission committed to him. We are not to rehearse our failures to strengthen the enemy’s
discouragement in our lives. Press forward. Don’t look back. The LORD’S Word is clear, “As far as the east
is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Ps.103:12. As the devil accuses us before GOD,
Christ stands between us and the condemnation of sin pointing to his righteous life as the life of the repentant sinner, for
He is the "everlasting father" of all who turn to the leading of His Spirit and His sacred Law. Christ then
declares to the devil, "Of what sin do you accuse me of?"
All throughout earth's history, none has ever been more humble than
Christ's Apostle Peter. At the end of his life, when Peter was crucified at the hands of Nero, [the corrupt “Divine
Pontiff” of Rome (of which today's pope of Rome claims the same abhorrent title: the Holy See, the Holy Father,
and His Holiness)] Peter, the true disciple of Christ gave but one request: that he be crucified upside
down. Peter’s humility before Christ the LORD was so astute to Biblical teaching and the Holy Spirit's
leading that he would not allow himself to die the same way as his Master died. It was the same meekness that led John
the Baptist to declare, “There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop
down and unloose.” Mk.1:7.
And there was Peter, hoisted
up and placed among the other crucified victims. His Cross upside down! What a witness in humility! How different is the history
of pompous men ruling the church throughout the centuries, contrasted with the life of Peter: popes and prelates who claimed
Peter's endorsement of their sins and abominations in their sinful, GOD condemning paganized version of christianity.
There are many passages in Peter's letters that condemn the very existence of the Roman church using his good name
for its self-aggrandizement. The pope of Rome claims to have received the scepter of Peter's authority over the church,
but this is an authority Peter never once claimed to have. Nowhere in the Scriptures does this passing of the banner take
place. The Bible warns all men of these kinds of corrupt extrapolations, “To the law, and to the testimony, if they
speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isa.8:20.
To review the life of Peter is to uncover the great
principles of humility and how man has betrayed that humility through today’s popular teachings in the Christian church.
Neither the tone of piety, nor the garb of religious clothing can hide that fact that sin rules today's Christianity
in light of the Ten Commandment Law. The devil doesn't care which law he trips men up on. Any one will do.
He then accuses them before GOD saying they have no right to life while he stands condemned for the same sin that men continue
Scripture exhaustively shows the contrast between
what Peter lived by and what professing Christians today live by. And sadly, the two are diametrically opposed: everything
from the state of the dead to the Ten Commandment Law. It is valuable to address those things of vital importance with the
prayerful hope to draw near to these vital issues from a range of evidences from both Scripture and common sense that the
reader may confirm in their own mind the logical and ethical nature of GOD’S displeasure with today’s Christianity.
Men little realize the holocaust taking place every moment of every day, where life’s every moment has eternal significance
not only for the global heartache and suffering of life but also for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, whose sole desire is to
fill His coming kingdom with redeemed people, who will live with Him forever.