“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)
From The High Standards of God for End-Times Christians
One of the basic messages of the Bible is that God’s ways are higher and better than our own. This is one of the pivotal, fundamental lessons of the Christian experience. Only the real, supernatural God can compose and direct circumstances in our lives that will lead to genuine, everlasting spiritual growth. It is within God’s unique character- manufacturing furnace of present-time experience that He forges mature saints who can trust and follow Him. Peter and Paul are two of the best examples of this process from scripture.
Before the crucifixion, Peter thought (according to Peter’s understanding in the realm of the “natural man”) that Jesus was in peril from the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem, and that Jesus needed Peter’s personal help for physical protection (Matthew 16:22). When Peter utterly failed in this capacity, to the point that he actually denied knowing Jesus using cursing to save himself out of a difficult situation in the courtyard, Matthew 26:75 says: “And he went out, and wept bitterly.” Peter was not just mildly disappointed in himself. He thought he had failed in the critical, defining moment in his life.
But this was not the defining moment in Peter’s life. God the Father knew from eternity past that Jesus would die on the cross, and that He would raise Jesus from the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. God did not need or want Peter’s help to prevent the crucifixion of Jesus. That was merely Peter’s best intentions according to his own thinking. The critical moment that God had planned for Peter was not at the midnight trial standing alongside Jesus as a faithful companion, but on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, at the birth of the Christian church, as described in the second chapter of the book of Acts.
On Resurrection Day, when Peter first sees the risen Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:5), Peter realizes in an instant that God did not need his well-intentioned help to guide these final events. God did not need Peter to prevent what Peter thought would be a guaranteed negative outcome if Jesus fell into the hands of the Jewish authorities. God the Father had raised and transformed the broken and mutilated body of Jesus Christ the Son from the effects of a violent death that had occurred only a few days before, into a new and glorious resurrected body. In a moment of realization, in the light of finally understanding, it all comes together for Peter.
Peter thinks back upon Jesus by the lakeside, in a boat because of the press of the crowd, as He is brilliantly teaching truth like no one has ever heard before (Luke 5:3). Peter remembers the oversized catch of fish in the nets that nearly overturns Peter’s boat (Luke 5:4-11), the miracle of the feeding of the thousands on the hillside (Matthew 14:15-21), Jesus walking on water (Matthew 14:22-36), the transfiguration (Mark 9:2), lepers cleansed (Luke 5:12-15), the blind receiving sight (John 9:1-41), and the dead raised (John 11:1-44).