Observing how people enter a swimming pool offers some good entertainment. The cautious will enter one small part at a time. The toenail, the big toe, the foot, the ankle, the calf . . . it can almost be painful. Then, the “all in” types plunge in and surface gasping for air and declaring how great the water is – punctuated with yells/gasps while their body adjusts. Finally, the indecisive remain on the pool deck debating the value of plunging vs. cautious entry but end up missing out on the fun.
We can classify Peter with the “all in” crowd. He was either all in or not in at all. For some of the cautious types, these people can be very frustrating. Jesus knew this about Peter and chose to call him and refine him. Peter’s closing words in 2 Peter 3 explain the process: “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18a) Peter’s life demonstrates the transformation – over many years – that grace brings in the lives of those committed to following Jesus.
Just think where we would be left if the gospels recorded Peter’s confession of Christ only. Scripture is truthful. It reveals the reality of struggle and the process of maturing despite the flaws of flesh-influenced personality.
Peter’s statements from Mark’s Gospel
“You are the Christ.” – Mark 8:29
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” – Mark 9:5
“See, we have left everything and followed you.” – Mark 10:28
“Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” – Mark 11:21
“Even though they all fall away, I will not.” – Mark 14:29
“I neither know nor understand what you mean.” – Mark 14:68
“I do not know this man of whom you speak.” – Mark 14:71