When Jesus walked the earth and began His earthly ministry, His mission consisted of so much more than miracles, signs, and wonders. At the very core of His ministry was the mission of making disciples not only of His own generation but also for building a firm foundation for making disciples throughout the following generations. Truly, Jesus is still making disciples to this day. For the heart of the Gospel message is the making of disciples for Christ in preparation for His second coming and the establishment of His kingdom throughout the earth.
Recently, the Holy Spirit instructed me to begin studying the identity of Christ and our resulting identity in Him. He spoke into my spirit this truth: “I AM! Therefore, I am.” As I searched out Jesus’ own profession of who He was through His seven famous I AM statements in the book of John, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to a fresh revelation of the making of one of Jesus’ closest disciples: Peter.
We know Peter as the apostle who led one of the greatest evangelical revivals of all time through which many Jews acknowledged Jesus as the promised Messiah, and the Gospel message was birthed and spread throughout the world. Yet, as we look closely at Peter’s own discipleship process, we see that the making of this particular disciple was a turbulent journey that but for the grace of God could have led to a shipwreck rather than ultimate success. Let us take a closer look and see what we can glean from Peter’s journey.
Peter’s Profession of Faith
First of all, Peter was known as one of Jesus’ closest disciples. He was a part of Jesus’ inner circle. Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus grooming Peter for leadership. In fact, when Jesus called Peter to follow Him as a disciple, Jesus changed His name to Peter, meaning “rock”. One of Peter’s proudest moments was when he openly professed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living, God for the first time.It seems the other disciples were stumped by Jesus question, “Who do you say that I am?” Yet, without fear, doubt, or hesitation, Peter boldly proclaimed Jesus to be exactly who He was: the promised Messiah, the King of Israel, and the Son of the living God! It seems Peter had passed the first test of true discipleship, which was to know the identity of his Master, Jesus.
Immediately, Jesus commended Peter, letting him know that his profession of faith revealed that he had received divine revelation from the Father. Peter could only know Jesus’ identity as the Messiah and Son of God by divine revelation. This is also true today. Our knowledge of God and His Son Jesus Christ is through grace alone because it is not a mere fact to which we assent or agree. Rather, it is a truth that God Himself has revealed to us. It is the rock and foundation upon which our faith stands.
Jesus’ Prediction of Peter’s Denial
Although I wish I could say that Peter’s discipleship process was free sailing from there, we know that it was anything but that. In fact, it wasn’t long after Peter’s breakthrough confession that he spoke out against Jesus’ prediction of His own impending suffering, and Jesus rebuked Satan from speaking through Peter. Isn’t this so common to our own experience as well? It seems like after our greatest spiritual breakthrough moments, we often falter in weakness in one way or another. Yet, we must stay the course and know that the making of a disciple is a journey through which God’s purpose and will must be accomplished. It is also a reminder of our complete dependence upon the grace and mercy of God.
As surprising as Peter’s detour was after his famous profession of faith, Jesus’ prediction that he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed was an even greater devastating surprise. After all, Peter had walked with Jesus for a greater length of time by then, and he had witnessed and experienced the power of God flowing miraculously through his own being due to his identity as a disciple of Jesus.
Denial of his Lord and Master seemed to be the farthest thing from possible at this point because a fiery passion burned deep within Peter’s heart. So great was his passion for the truth and for his Master that he was willing to lay down his life that Jesus might rightfully be crowned King of Israel. In fact, Peter even acted upon this passion when a band of soldiers came to arrest Jesus. He drew his sword and chopped a man’s ear off! How in the world could he ever deny the very One to whom he had committed his life unto death? Yet, as always, Jesus’ words came to pass, just as He said.
Regardless of your season in your journey of discipleship, be encouraged to know that Jesus is ever interceding on your behalf just as He did for Peter. Be encouraged and make this confession with me: “I AM! Therefore, I am!” Like Peter, we are all disciples in a process of becoming all that God created, called, and ordained us to be in Him. You are one of God’s masterpieces, and His work in and through you is the beautiful making of a disciple of Jesus, our Messiah and Lord.