By John Greco
Reading about the life of Peter—his triumphs, his blunders, and his heart—it’s not hard to see why Jesus chose the gruff fisherman to be one of His closest friends during His earthly life. If I were to describe Peter in a hashtagable phrase, it would be all in.
When we first meet Peter in Luke’s Gospel, he’s just come in from a long night of fishing. On the crowded shore of the Sea of Galilee, his world collides with Jesus. From the start, Peter is all in. He gives Jesus his boat to use as a pulpit, so the crowds can hear Him (Luke 5:3). He obeys Jesus against all earthly common sense to go out for another round of fishing—with nets that he’d just cleaned after being out all night (vv.4–7). And then he leaves everything behind to follow Jesus (v.11).
But that’s just the beginning. Peter’s the only disciple to get out of the boat to walk on the water with Jesus (Matthew 14:28–29). He’s the first disciple to confess Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). And even if the attempt was misguided, he’s the one who pulls out a sword to defend Jesus from arrest (John 18:10). Peter is all in for Jesus. It’s no wonder Jesus likes to have Peter by His side.
But Peter is also all in when it comes to his fear. When the pressure is on, Peter denies Jesus three times to save his own skin (Luke 22:54–62). Along with the other disciples, Peter runs and hides while Jesus is being beaten and crucified for our sins (Matthew 26:31).
When I read about this side of Peter’s story, I can’t help but see myself. How many times have I done the safe thing rather than the right thing? How many times have I thought about my own well-being rather than the sacrifice Jesus made on my behalf? As much as I want to be the Peter who steps out onto the Sea of Galilee and walks on the waves, I’m more often the Peter who sinks with his doubts.
Thankfully, Peter’s story is ultimately not dependent on his own faithfulness, because Jesus is all in for Peter. Whether the fisherman is getting things right or wrong, Jesus is pulling for His friend. Even before Peter’s cowardly betrayal, Jesus prays for his future ministry (Luke 22:31–32). And when He is resurrected from the dead, Jesus makes a point of commissioning Peter three times to feed His sheep—a threefold restoration for a threefold betrayal (John 21:15–17). This is good news for all of us who resemble Peter in this way. Let’s be all in for Jesus; He’s all in for us. He proved it on the cross.
Written by John Greco