Jesus and Peter – leadership and fellowship with God

“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”… (Luke 5:8)

Well, that was exactly what Peter said to Jesus. They were out in the middle of the sea on a boat. Jesus knew He could walk on water but He choose to stay by Peter.

One of the marks of great leadership is the ability to train and guide the next generation leaders to go further and do greater. Such endeavor could means the sacrificing of self, to the extent of allowing yourself to be a “stepping stone” for the next in line to go further.

In considering how Jesus trained and guided His disciples, we can observe His generosity, wisdom and grace. We are looking at the works of a perfect visionary sent of God. What Jesus did was way above and beyond our human expectation (Isaiah 55:8-9) – nevertheless it is achievable for the vision and purpose of doing that which is good and perfect for the glory of God and for the blessing of the people.

Every great leader must be prepared to be selfless.

Jesus’ own leadership skill was remarkable in deeds and preaching. The people in His times felt the differences. Every time they’ve been to the synagogues, so often the speakers were just “reading from the text”. If they had CD player back then, the priest might just click it on and save his breath.

Now when Jesus preached – all attention were on Him. “Who is this man?

For all the achievement and glory Jesus had, He re-invested His time and resources for the next generations. Let’s consider Peter as an example, and see how far Jesus had gone to nurture the next generation of leaders, and the way He train them.

In the beginning of Jesus public ministry, Peter’s meekness qualifies himself for good discipleship materials. Peter’s public confession of his sin before Jesus meant he was prepared to walk the path of unconditional repentance before God.

People whose heart and ear are open to God have great potential in the Lord.

While the world system gives priority for institutional recognitions  and economic value, Jesus considered meekness as an important value of great human potential. Among all the learned class of those days, there were many scholars and teachers of the law who could continue the teaching ministry of Jesus Christ and serve to govern the Church to be founded. But God was looking for people like Peter.

Knowledge can be acquired, but meekness of the heart is a matter of “you have it” or “you don’t

It is through the meekness of our hearts, and faith in Christ that we could engage in fellowship with God. Like in any form of relationship – trust is essential. I believe this is where Jesus chooses the likes of Peter and his circle of friends. For without faith in Christ it is impossible to experience that true fellowship with God. It was obvious while Jesus was training Peter; there were neither manuals nor methodology but learning to fellowship with God and walk with our Father in heaven.

If we were to compare Peter with the teachers of the laws – they had all the knowledge about God, gain enough mathematics to know when the Messiah should appear, but with Jesus standing right in front of them they could not accept and trust that this is the Messiah sent by God.

Let’s look at some of the experiences Peter had –

The Transfiguration of Jesus (Luke 9:28), Peter was there along with James and John. You can’t have that experience in classroom teaching session. Peter had remained in close fellowship with Jesus to have that chance.

It is possible and  true even till today; Peter is the only other person who ever walk on water together with Jesus (Matthew 14:28-29). Peter trusted the words of Jesus as rock solid and step out of the boat. What was Thomas thinking at that time?

Peter acknowledged Christ as the Messiah (Luke 9:20), while the Jewish leadership rejected. Isn’t it amazing, the very same group of leaders who disclosed to Herod and the wise men where “the King of the Jews” would be born (Matthew 2:1-6) rejected Jesus as the Messiah. The same Jesus presented to the people, how was it that Peter could recognize and confessed Jesus is The Messiah but the Jewish leadership missed it?

Apart from being a divine revelation, Peter actually believed and trusted what was written!

Those Jewish leaders who knew the Torah and the writing of the prophets – did they actually believed what was written? Peter believed and trusted. With regards to God’s word and promises Peter took them at face value.

Peter knew to trust and obey Jesus was to walk in in obedient and repentance according to God’s command. So Peter accepted John the Baptist baptism, even Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. But the Pharisees rejected as according to their own unwillingness to repent and obey. A key aspect of repentance is to surrender our will and desire to God.

In consideration of the wide spread criticism Jesus had to face with during the period of His public ministry, to dis-believe and doubt was as easy as flowing along with the crowds. Thus there were few incidents Jesus was amazed by example of great faith. This continuous battle against disbelieves wage on and on even till today. It was not easy to just teach and preach and expect people will listen, Jesus demonstrated the truth and reality of God, with power and authority, signs and wonders, and with much patients, eventually at the Last Supper washing His disciples’ feet.

All these experiences which Peter and his friends went through with Jesus, those events which were recorded in the Gospel; these were just the highlights among other countless training sessions. All in all Peter had to confront his own conscience, weigh the consequences and decide if he still wishes to follow Jesus.

Jesus mentored and trained Peter in the way Peter literally grew in the knowledge and fellowship of God and developed deeper relationship with the heavenly Father. Jesus wanted leaders who can show forth and pass on the reality and fellowship of God.

For the Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus as the Messiah, they had all the knowledge of the law to be called scholars but they missed the highlights – fellowship and friendship with God.

Peter may have started out as a fisher man; his academics may be worse off than any one of those attendants at synagogue. But Jesus had every intention to transform Peter into a fisher-of-man. Peter might have been scorned at, likewise Jesus was disdained as “a carpenter’s son” (Mark 6:3).

It was a tough journey for master and disciple. Peter had trusted and moved on really well, even at the Last Supper knowing that Jesus will be betrayed and handed to the Romans, he vowed to go all the way with Jesus. Nevertheless Peter stumbled at his own promise to Jesus. Peter was ashamed of his own acts of denial towards Jesus (Luke 22.34), grief stricken and went back to fishing. But his faith and trust in Jesus remain strong.

Jesus after His own Resurrection made every effort to restore Peter

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep”. (John 21:17)

For all the truth, friendship and fellowship Peter had learn of Jesus, he remembered for life and pass on the same tradition to the next generations of leaders as well.