It’s easy to look at someone who is strong in Christ and forget that they also began as a baby in the Lord. When we trust in the Jesus and accept Him as our Lord we are automatically saved but we are not automatically full of faith. In our day and age our faith is tested daily and sometimes to the point of failing us. We are faced with trials and tribulations, sorrows and disappointment more times than we can count. Often times our faith pulls us through and other times we question whether our faith is in vain.
My faith (or lack there of) used to be a great stumbling block for me. I felt that I did not have sufficient faith to pull me through and as a result I felt like a bad Christian. As I turned to scripture for help in my daily life God lead me to examine his servant Peter a little bit closer.
Peter is said by many to be the greatest of the apostles and the Catholic Church believes that their Pope is a direct descendent of him through apostolic procession. According to the Catholic Church, he is the rock upon which Christ has built His church. We must take a closer look at this man and realize he wasn’t always the mighty Christian that he became. In the beginning he was weak, unsure and his faith was lacking. In essence he was just as we are when we begin our journey.
And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matt. 14:28-31
Many times as Christians we are able to deal well with situations in our lives, but sometimes we reach a point where it seems hopeless, our faith falters and we cry out, “Lord save me!” Just as He did with Peter he does with us as well, “immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him.” It doesn’t say that eventually He reached out to help him, but immediately. When we cry out to Him, He is faithful to help us, to save us from the mess we find ourselves in.
As we move on in Peters walk with Jesus we see on the night of Jesus’ capture by the temple guards, Peters faith falters once again.
Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” But he denied it before them all saying, “I do not know what you are saying.” And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.
Under persecution for associating with Jesus Peter was fearful for his own life. His faith was weak and he denied Jesus, not once but three times. It is interesting to note the degree to which he denied him, “Then he began to curse and swear.” Fear had taken its grip on Peter and cast a black shadow over his faith, but when he realized what he had done he began to weep bitterly. He wept because he knew that his faith was weak and had caused him to deny Jesus.
As we move into the Book of Acts we see a whole new Peter. We see a man whose faith can heal the sick and even resurrect the dead. Was it the Holy Spirit he received on the day of Pentecost that strengthened his faith or was it something else? I tend to believe it was seeing Christ resurrected and finally being able to see what Jesus had been asking him to believe all along. He finally saw that Jesus was and is the Son of God and our Lord and Savior.
This stands true for us in our lives as well. Until we can truly say without any doubt, “Jesus is the Son who was sent to us to deliver us from sin,” we will never be truly faithful. And without faith we open ourselves up for attack from Satan and the trials and tribulations of life. We are given the Holy Spirit to help us through the hard times, but it still requires faith on part to put our trust in Him.