We know that all Scripture comes from the very mouth of God (2 Tim.3:16-17), even to the selecting of the words that were written for our learning (1 Cor.2:13). The Almighty carefully chose those who would transmit His divine will to us as they were born along by the Holy Spirit, recording for us the precious, soul-saving word of God (2 Pet.1:20-21). In spite of the fact that God chose the words that these men were to write for posterity, it is interesting how He allowed the personalities of these inspired penmen to shine through at times. These were not mere automatons. God used their various backgrounds, educations, and characteristics to transmit His word and preserve it for all generations. Peter is one of those that God entrusted to record the Divine record. He is a great man of faith, but he was as flawed as any of us can be. I suppose Peter appeals to us so much because we see in him much of ourselves. God allowed Peter to write these words: “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet.3:15, ESV). My, how Peter had grown by the time he penned these words! It must have been a very humbling experience to him to be instructed to write this charge, when Peter had failed so miserably early on in his life in living out this charge!

Peter was often impetuous in both word and deed. He meant well, but he didn’t always do well. It seems he was always prepared with an answer, though his answers were not always tempered with meekness and reverence. When Jesus was walking on the water, Peter requested that he be allowed to join his Lord (Matt.14:28). We admire his courage, and sympathize with his doubts. It wasn’t long until he was sinking and crying out for the Lord to save him. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James and John were in the presence of three of God’s greatest spokesmen—Moses, Elijah, and Jesus Christ. Peter, perhaps sensing that someone needed to do or say something, spoke up and said that they should build three tabernacles to honor these three men (Matt.17:4). The voice of the Father quickly admonished Peter to hear Jesus (vs.5). When the Savior predicted that all of his disciples would forsake him, Peter replied that though the others might deny their Lord, he would never act so cowardly (Matt.26:33). He was brash and bold in his declarations, but often he had to eat his words. Peter had learned to answer with gentleness and respect through some of these experiences.

While Peter was often brazen in speaking out, there were times when he failed to give a defense of his faith. Three times he was given the opportunity to declare himself a disciple of Jesus Christ, but in all three instances he denied his Lord and his faith (Matt.26:70, 72, 74)! While Peter was willing to draw the sword to defend the life of his Master (Matt.26:51), he was unwilling to give an answer to those who questioned his discipleship. I am grateful that Peter did not allow his failures to defeat him. Some fifty days later, Peter would stand before a crowd of likely hundreds of thousands (perhaps even millions) to boldly declare the risen Savior (Acts 2:23ff). Peter had learned by his own failings to be ready always to give an answer to those who ask of the hope that is in you, and to do so with meekness and fear. Hopefully we, like Peter, can mature in our faith so that we can faithfully carry out the charge to give an answer to all who ask us about our Lord Jesus!

– Patrick Morrison

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