NOTE: This post originally appeared on Medium. It has been reproduced with permission by the author.
Whether you are religious or not, there’s no denying that there are countless life learning lessons that we can find in the Bible. Lessons that can be applied to our lives and spirituality. However, if we look a little deeper and search, we can find deep, enriching lessons applicable to us right now in our current situation.
I served a volunteer mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Marshall Islands. For two years I devoted my time and talents to help others and spent a considerable amount of time studying and learning what I could from the scriptures. Without a doubt, that experience alone has done more for me in my life than any other experience I have had, or will have. I will share with you one of the lessons I learned. We will examine excerpts from the Bible focusing on three interactions between Jesus Christ and Simon Peter (Peter). As you read, pay attention to who is speaking when Christ and Peter interact.
1. The Call — Matthew 4:18–20
18 ¶And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
This is our first encounter between Jesus and Peter that we will examine. As Jesus walks along the sea of Galilee, he calls to Peter and says, “Follow me.” Like Peter, we too are called to follow Him. We can be called at anytime and anyplace. He doesn’t care who we are or where we’ve been. The call is now, and we can follow the example of Peter by acting on that call. When Jesus says, “Follow me”, this is a command to follow, and should note that it is not a demand. We are always invited to act and to choose for ourselves. Peter’s response is written as, “they straightway left their nets, and followed him.” Take note that it was straightway, not a little after, or tomorrow, but straightway. He needs us to act now and to act when we are invited. I think that’s something I know I can work on. I have no trouble following but rather understanding the urgency and responding straightway is where I know I can improve. Here is what you should keep in mind with this interaction:
Jesus is the one who told Peter to follow Him
Peter leaves his boat and nets behind
2. Walking On Water — Matthew 14:25–29
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
This is the second interaction between Jesus and Peter that we will look into. There are so many things we are able to take away from this. For example, we see how quick Jesus is to comfort in verses 26–27. The disciples are troubled, and straight away Jesus comforts them. When we find our self in trouble, take courage and be of good cheer because He is with us. Now pay attention to who is talking and what questions are asked in this second encounter.
This time we see it is Peter who speaks to the Savior and is the one (so to speak) asking the question. In the first encounter, it was Jesus who tells Peter to follow Him, and now in the second encounter it is Peter who is saying, “Can I come to You.”
3. No Question — John 21:7
7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
The third and final encounter we have is when the Savior is resurrected and is on the shore of the Sea of Tiberius. Not knowing what to do after the death of their Leader, Jesus Christ, the disciples return to what they did before they were called to follow Christ. This time, when Peter realizes it’s the resurrected Savior on the shore he leaps from his boat into the sea and heads towards the savior.
Question: Who asked the question this time between Jesus and Peter?
Bringing It All Together
I will now try my best to explain and tie everything together, and show what happened in each of these three interactions.
The first interaction this is what happened:
Jesus commands Peter to follow Him
Peter tells the savior if he can come to Him
No question is asked, Peter leaves and goes to Christ, no questions asked.
I believe the three examples above can be represented as our inner commitment to follow Christ and I believe we experience each one at different stages of our lives. We have all at one point felt or heard His call and we left our boats and followed. Sometimes or many times, I believe in our weakest moments, when we feel we are at the bottom of the sea, we ask in our humble voices if we can come to Him. His comforting, loving reply is always, “Come.” Finally, there is the third experience (where I believe we should strive to be): there is no asking from Him or us. No questions, but rather pure love and desire to follow Him. I believe it was at this moment and time that Peter who doubted Christ became Peter the Great Apostle.
Lastly, at each moment that Peter went unto Christ, he had to leave the safety of his boat. When the Savior called Him, he left his boat, the second was when he left the boat to walk on water to go to Christ. The third was when he leaped out of the boat and swam to Christ. We too need to leave our boats like Peter did. The boat represents the comfort zone and in order to follow Christ fully, we need to leave the safety of the boat and do what it takes to walk on water. We should seek faith and not doubt, love unconditionally, and desire to become the best we can.
This can also be applied to our goals, or anything we want to achieve. I firmly believe we will achieve our goals if we leave our boats (comfort zone) and do our best, NO QUESTIONS asked. Just follow the plan we have to get there and it will happen. By leaving the safety of your comforts, you will build a stronger and new you.