The Broken Apostle – God Alone Knows How.
No one enjoys being broken. No one prays to be broken. No one desires to be broken. No one plans for brokenness. It is assumed that brokenness comes with a lot of pain especially to the body. It comes with a lot of pressure forcibly separating the one who is being broken from the beliefs he/she has to a new set of beliefs which will guide what he/she should see and how he/she should act.
We look at the story of one of the Apostles of Jesus named Peter. He was first described as Simon, which means someone that hears. His father’s name was Jonas. He became unstable, fluctuating between the flesh and the spirit. It was this Peter who stated that Jesus was the Christ and Jesus, in turn said “Flesh and Blood has not revealed this to you but my Father, who is in heaven”.
It was this Peter who saw Jesus walk on water and asked if he could join him walking on the water. Jesus asked him to come and Peter then walked in the realm of the miraculous but afterwards began to sink, when he observed the flesh realm through his sensual perception.
It was Peter, who, when Jesus was explaining the things that would befall Him in Jerusalem: his death, burial and resurrection, began to protest to Jesus, saying that what Christ had said would not become a reality. One would think, on the one hand, Jesus not too long ago commended Peter and announced that God had revealed the identity of Jesus to the other disciples through this great Apostle. On the other hand, Jesus turned back and said to Peter: “get thee behind me Satan, for you are a danger to me, you do not mind the things of God but you have your mind on the things of men”.
Immediately after that episode, Jesus took Peter, James and John up to the mountain, where Moses and Elijah appeared to them. Peter said to Jesus: “let us make three tabernacles, one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah”. Before he completed his sentence a strong wind blew, taking away Moses and Elijah, signifying the end of the Prophets and the Law and the path towards the beginning of the next dispensation (Jesus was left behind). Again, Peter approached the situation from the realm of the flesh; unknown to him Jesus was trying to send a message about the coming event in the history of mankind.
We come to a particular story of interest: Jesus called Peter and told him the plan of the enemy concerning him. Jesus told Peter he had prayed for him, so that his faith would not fail, even though his flesh and body could and would fail. One may wonder why Jesus didn’t deal with the situation by disrupting the plan so that Peter would not be caught off guard. Rather than listen to instruction or ask Jesus about a possible solution, Peter continued in his fleshly disposition. In this story, Jesus again was passing information that would help the disciples about His death because the Jews were about to make an arrest.
Jesus made a statement about how his disciples would be offended and revert from walking with Him. He spoke of how the Jews would arrest Him and later crucify Him. Peter went on the wrong path again, saying that if all men deserted Christ, he would never desert his Lord. Jesus concluded His instruction by telling Peter that he will deny Him (Jesus) before the cock crows, that is, before the day dawns.
Apostle Peter could not continue with his barrage of blunders, especially when the mantle of leadership would fall on him. Something had to change, especially in his manner of approach. Would he be able to lead the other disciples and continue the work when Christ leaves? What would be his approach when he is left to make very crucial judgements? Certainly, the blunders would continue and judgements would be given as a result of his dependence on the flesh or external influence.
Before Jesus finished his statement, He told Peter that Peter would deny Him, and that a conversion would follow after the denial. Peter was instructed to use this conversion as an instrument of strength for the people who would come his way.
His boss was arrested, taken and treated like a robber; Peter was expecting an intervention from Heaven, which did come. I am very certain that Peter would never have believed that Jesus could be picked by anyone, after he had witnessed the different miracles performed by his master. Yes Jesus had the backing from heaven but Peter never knew that arresting Jesus was part of God’s plan in order to achieve the resurrection from the dead. Without the resurrection from the dead, we would not have been saved.
Jesus had warned Peter about this but my man was busy interpreting spiritual things with the human philosophy and understanding. All the other disciples fled on Jesus’ arrest but Peter followed Jesus from a distance as he was being taken to the high priest; the bible records that he was waiting to see the end.
The pressure begins to mount as the Jews arrived at the palace with Jesus, seeking to find false witnesses against Him, with the intention of putting him to death. Peter went in and sat among the people. Remember that Jesus had told him about the denial to occur just before the day dawns.
In Peter’s mind, he would have thought that if they could put his master to death, he would have no chance of living and yet he swore heaven and earth when Jesus tried to get through to him about this particular event. The pressure builds up; God is at work in the process of converting this gentleman.
These are the kind of issues we face today. Before anything happens, we have a different idea of how we would deal with the issue. This stems from our limited cognitive ability or understanding. But when we are faced with the same issue, every idea we have garnered on how to face the situation disappears and reality sets in. We change our minds and at the end of the issue, we come out like real people. NEVER say NEVER is another way of putting this.
For the first time Peter sees his master being slapped on the face, being assaulted, abused and yet his master did nothing: his master didn’t even pray for heaven’s intervention. Pressure increases on him (Peter). Could this be the end of the journey? Yes, Jesus had already told him but he never believed it would end brutally with the way his master was being tortured.
God would have to present the drama of denial so that Peter would realise how human he was; he had boasted about dying with Jesus. When the situation presented itself Peter instantly changed his mind. A lady accosted Peter where he warmed himself by the fire and said that she had seen him with Jesus. He denied – this was the first time. God was counting and Jesus was also counting. After some time, other people also went to meet him, saying the same thing. They said to him, “you talk like him, your speech betrays you”. He denied again. That was the second denial. The third time, Peter started to curse that he never knew Jesus. At that very moment, the cock crowed and Jesus immediately looked back from where He was and saw Peter who looked at Jesus at the same time. Peter remembered what Jesus had told him about the cock crowing, he left the place and wept bitterly.
Were the Jews looking for Peter? NO. From that episode, the Lord was able to restore Peter and what seemed like a negative situation to him was used as a source of strength so that he could encourage people afterwards. Peter before the denial was not Peter after the denial. A change had come for the future. Peter would be faced with endorsing the gospel, which Apostle Paul taught and because of God’s dealing with him, he would make all see that indeed the Gentiles have been grafted into and were part of God’s plan and purpose in salvation. Paul would go to the Gentiles but Peter would go to the Jews to present the gospel.
Brokenness is what the Lord looks for in His people. God knows how to break us for His use. He knows what drama to stage and how to make it play out. We cannot choose what will break us but God who knows all things knows what will break us. God will break you because He needs you to carry out some work for Him, bringing Him glory.