Welcome! I’m so glad you are joining me for this journey. Over the next six weeks, we’re going to have some fun together. I pray that your heart will be stirred, your thinking will be stretched, and your life will be changed. I am certain that, by the end of this 40-day journey, you are going to love Peter and this beautiful letter. More importantly, I pray that you would encounter Jesus in a personal way and discover Him as the one and only true source of Living Hope.
By the time Peter writes this letter, he is older and wiser—probably in his 60s, maybe even 70s. Imagine yourself getting this letter from a fatherly (or grandfatherly) figure, writing to encourage you in crisis and suffering. His goal is to give HOPE!
This older, wiser image of Peter is not usually what comes to mind when I think of Peter. He started off as an entrepreneur running a fishing business. He understood payroll, cashflow, difficult conversations with employees, and what it felt like to have days when going out of business was a strong possibility. He came from humble, blue-collar roots. Think of Peter as the kind of guy who would shop at Bass Pro, wear Carhartts, and drink IPAs after work.
I tend to view Peter through the lens of all the stories about Jesus and his disciples in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. More is written about him than any of the other early followers of Jesus. He was loud, impulsive, brash, and overly confident. He probably told inappropriate jokes to get people to laugh, thus endearing himself to them. You might have a friend like that. You love them, but sometimes they drive you crazy—especially when you’re ready to go to sleep, and they’re still talking. That’s Peter, particularly when he first meets Jesus.
So now when Peter, as an older, wiser grandpa, says, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus,” it matters. It matters because he has become a different man. Instead of always trying to be the center of attention, now he is living as a conduit of hope and strength for his children in the faith.
Have you ever used The Aging App? I recently took a picture of myself with that app, and I look like my dad’s twin. Though I can imagine what I’ll look like in three decades, I often wonder what I will be like 30 years from now. Most of us change significantly in 30 years; Peter was no exception.
Peter’s story gives us HOPE. Jesus changed Peter’s identity, and his destiny. Jesus changes his young disciple’s name from Simon to Peter, which means rock. Jesus likes to change people’s identity. He likes to give people purpose and hope that is not based upon perfection or past performance.
Like Peter, we have all done things we regret, haven’t we? What are those things that you think should disqualify you? I doubt they’re any worse than Peter’s regrets! Peter denied Jesus right before his crucifixion (Mark 14:66-16:72), but, because of Jesus’s response to Peter, this misstep did not become the defining moment of his life.
After His resurrection, Jesus would reinstate Peter (John 21:15-19) and appoint him as the leader of his church by commanding him to “feed my sheep.” Thirty years after that conversation, Peter was still going strong, loving Jesus and feeding His sheep.
Jesus wants to give you HOPE today. Grace can rewrite your story. The same personal love Jesus displayed for Peter is the same personal love he has for you. He has a new name, a new destiny, a better tomorrow, and He is inviting you into it. Just imagine Him sitting down next to you like He did with Peter—His arm over your shoulder, speaking life into you as his son or daughter.
Take a minute now to write a personal note to Jesus inviting Him to write the rest of your story. Try to imagine what your life will be like in the future. Ask The Holy Spirit to help you imagine yourself older and wiser having followed Jesus faithfully for decades.
Let the image of the future you override any image or voice that speaks against God’s identity or destiny for your life. Use the next 40 days to set the course for the next 40 years.