Just as God had set Paul apart to be the apostle to the Gentiles, He has a plan for each of us. That plan has been in place since before the earth was created. Besides Ananias, Paul did not consult with other Christians until he had spent time in the Arabian desert. How long he stayed in the desert is unknown, but he returned to Damascus and preached there for three years. Then he went to Jerusalem to spend time with Peter (Cephas). Besides what God had imparted to Paul through the Holy Spirit, he was able to talk about Jesus with Peter. That would be a conversation worth listening to. It is also a good example for us to follow. We need to spend time alone with God and then we need a mature Christian to mentor us. We need both to become what God wants us to be. We need to choose carefully and not let just anyone speak into our spiritual lives. After making a careful choice of who that person or persons will be, we still need to verify every word by the WORD.
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.–1 John 4:1 (NASB)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Jesus showed us example after example of His humbleness. From the time He laid aside His glory in heaven to come to earth clothed in the flesh of a lowly human. Jesus was the perfect example of supreme power under control. He could have lashed out at any time and wiped out village after village. But He chose to be a servant to the people. Serving them by teaching and healing every disease. Now, Jesus was preparing to perform an act that in that time and place was performed only by servants. To wash another person’s feet showed complete meekness and humbleness. The disciples knew that and that is why Peter said “No, you will never wash my feet”. Peter could not imagine Jesus, His Lord and Master, stooping so low as to do that. But when Jesus explained to Peter that He could not be one of His disciples if Peter didn’t allow Him to wash his feet, Peter said “”Lord, then wash not only my feet, but wash my hands and my head, too!” Peter would later understand that Jesus was doing this as an example of how humble we, as Christians, must be. Maybe we all need to participate in a good old fashioned foot washing ceremony. Would we be willing to do that for our brothers and sisters?
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. – 1 Peter 5:6 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Jesus had instructed Peter to feed His sheep. He was basically appointing Peter as the leader of the church after His ascension. He had also told Peter that satan desired to “sift him as wheat”. That is a metaphor meaning that satan wanted to separate Peter from the others like a farmer separates the chaff from the wheat when he winnows it. By stirring up King Agrippa to have Peter arrested and put in jail, satan was attempting to sift Peter. The leaders of the Jews were recruited by satan and joined by encouraging Agrippa in his acts of persecution. Peter was chained in prison with sixteen guards assigned to do nothing but watch him. God sent an angel to free Peter from his chains and they walked right past all of those guards. Peter thought it was a dream or a vision until they gates to the city swung open of their own accord and the angel left Peter. I can imagine that about the time Peter realized that it was for real, he probably remembered that Jesus also said “but I have prayed for you”. Jesus had prayed, was now at the right hand of God praying and the whole church was praying late into the night. God had a plan for Peter and Jesus had prepared Peter for that plan. The enemy’s plans to thwart God’s plans were defeated because of prayer. All the demons of hell and the earthly recruits were not enough to overcome the prayers of a handful of saints. We need to be prayer warriors and spend more time praying fervently for God to rescue our nation and keep our families safe. God is able to protect us and provide for us when He selects us for Kingdom work. We will not be defeated!
15 Simon Peter and another one of Jesus’ followers went along after Jesus. This follower knew the high priest, so he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard. 16 But Peter waited outside near the door. The follower who knew the high priest came back outside, spoke to the girl at the door, and brought Peter inside. 17 The girl at the door said to Peter, “Aren’t you also one of that man’s followers?” Peter answered, “No, I am not!” 18 It was cold, so the servants and guards had built a fire and were standing around it, warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.—John 18:15-18 (NCV)
When Jesus was arrested in the garden, all the disciples fled, However, two of them came back at some point on the journey from the Garden to the priest’s house. One of them we are sure is Simon Peter, The other follower is assumed to be John because, in the book of John, John does not normally refer to himself by name, but with a brief description such as “the disciple that Jesus loved”. John went inside the house with Jesus, but Peter stayed outside near the door. John shows us that Jesus has taught him to care about others since he went into the house with Jesus, seemingly not caring if the others knew he was a follower of Jesus. Then he comes back out to have Peter brought inside. A nice gesture on a cold night. But when the girl goes to bring Peter inside, she recognizes Peter and she asks him if he isn’t also one of the followers of Jesus. Peter answers that he is not. Peter makes his first denial of the evening. Now he will have to keep lying about his relationship with Jesus. As we know, one lie always leads to another and it gets easier each time we tell it. Peter failed Jesus with words, how many times have we done that? And just as hypocritical, how many times have we betrayed Jesus with our silence? How many times have we grieved God the Holy Spirit with our refusal to allow Him to lead us? Everyday, with our actions or lack of actions and our words or our lack of words, we deny God the Father and grieve God the Holy Spirit.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. 41 Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”.) 42 Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said,“Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”). 43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” 44 Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown.—John 1:40-43 (NLT)
Once we answer the call to “come and see” and we have “tasted and seen” that the Lord is good, our next step is to follow the Lord. While the plan of salvation is simple and free, following the example that Jesus set for us is not easy and it is not free. He gave up His glory in heaven, came to earth and died for us. Should the created expect to do less than that for His Creator? From the worldly point of view, this is asking a lot, but from God’s point of view, it is the best thing that you can do. The only way to save your life is to let it go. 33 If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it—Luke 17:33 (NLT)
For our sake, Jesus laid down His life, so that He could take it up again to be our Redeemer and Lord. So, we must lay down our lives for His sake. 23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?—Luke 9:23-25 (NLT)
”Come, follow me”! When we decide to this for Jesus, we find a life that is truly worth living.
1 Corinthians 3:18-23 (NLT) 18 Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” 20 And again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.” 21 So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
It is good to have knowledge, but just having knowledge is not being wise. Wisdom is the application of that knowledge to life situations. As we are told in Proverbs “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. To discover Who God is and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is the first step. In the book of James, we are told to ask God for wisdom and he will give it to us abundantly. Reading commentaries and listening to sermons can add to our knowledge, but for wisdom, we need to go straight to the source. No matter how wise someone thinks they are and no matter how much we respect them and their ministry, we need to always check everything we hear to see if it aligns with the Holy Scriptures. There is a lot of misinformation being taught as Scriptural. Don’t be deceived, God is waiting to give you more wisdom. Don’t be caught up with a person’s charisma or their passion. There is only one perfect person and that is Jesus Christ. Humans make errors and it is up to each of us to discern the truth and walk in it.