Peter: Jesus' "Extra" Disciple.

Just to be clear when I say "extra" I don't mean "additional" I am actually referring to the slang that means "over the top or always doing the most." Peter was a fishermen who became one of Jesus' 12 disciples after Jesus spoke this simple words to him and his brother "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19).

After this event we follow Peter in his journey as a disciple and immediately his zeal is apparent and impossible to deny. When reading the New Testament, one character I relate to the most (as other Christians do too I presume) is Paul because God gave him such a unique perspective of life and his teachings are so relevant even in today's world (Romans 7:8–25).

While Paul's life and teachings have a resounding effect in my life, I have always been curious of Peter and how zealously he followed Jesus. He was just so enthusiastic and passionate about this life he had with Christ. For example, in John 13, we see the story of how Jesus washed the disciples' feet and how Peter was totally opposed to the idea because he saw Jesus as their master and teacher and such act was too lowly for Him to do. Jesus eventually explains to Peter that if He didn't wash his feet, Peter would have no part with Him and immediately Peter says "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." I always laugh out loud when I read that verse because it captures the personality of Peter and how driven he was and how passionately he loved Christ.

Jesus tells Peter he was going to eventually deny Him during His persecution and not only does Peter vehemently refuse to believe this, he goes as far as to say that he was prepared to die for Jesus rather than deny Him (Matt 26:35), we all know how that turns out. When they came to seize Jesus to be crucified, Peter was the first to draw his sword and he sliced a person's ear off and Jesus was quick to rebuke him, "He that lives by the sword, shall die by the sword (paraphrased)" (John 18:10, Matthew 26:52).

All these things that Peter did made me to come to the conclusion that he was Jesus' so "extra" disciple. He showed not only zeal but also this complete readiness to follow Jesus and because of that I see myself(and a lot of people) in him. As Christians we speak so frequently about how we want to be "sold out" for the Lord and how we want to do His will and these sentiments are oftentimes true but sometimes we find ourselves falling short like Peter did (Matthew 26:75). If I didn't know the whole story, I would have argued that Peter kept his word of actually dying with Christ and following Him till the very end but with everything that happened, we're reminded that we, like Peter, are just mere humans and our zeal and genuine zest for the things of God cannot carry us the distance.

The story of Peter is however not one of sadness and failure but actually of triumph and lessons learnt. In Luke 22:31–32, Jesus tells Peter how the devil had requested to "sift you as wheat" (means to test his faith) and Jesus tells him that He had prayed for him and after he is converted, he should "strengthen thy brethren". Jesus was trying to explain to him here that He knew Peter was going to be tested and he was going to fail but that this would only build his faith and then give him the chance to help other people in their journey. Peter's two letters as recorded in the New Testament is a testimony of this.

In essence, we all can be a little "extra" sometimes but as we have seen, that is not enough. We need the grace and the strength of God so that we will not fail. Jesus told Peter that he had prayed for him that his faith may not fail and Peter went ahead to do mighty things after Jesus went back to heaven. We have to keep building our faith by meditating on the word of God and by prayer. Our continuous faith in God is what will help us win this race (Jude 1:20–21). Ephesians 6:16 is a reminder of this fact because we know our human strength will fail us but our faith in God will sustain us just as it sustained Peter.

Finally, Peter genuinely loved Jesus and Jesus recognized that. After His crucifixion, death and resurrection, we don't see anywhere where Jesus says "I told you so!", what we see instead is the kindness of a saviour and hope for all of us. (John 21:1–13). That's the beauty of Christianity, Jesus sees all of us, even the not so good parts, and yet He draws us to Himself and the Father. Peter's story continues to strengthen me and I hope it strengthens you too.

Law student and lover of Jesus trying to figure out life one day at a time.