PETER, DO YOU FEEL BLESSED?
God gave you and me, as Christians, some incredible promises. Because we
were baptized into Christ, God promised that He would forgive and forget all of our sins
(Hebrews 8:12). God promised if we maintain faith in Christ, maintain our commitment
to live in God's ways, and maintain a heart that readily repents, that God will continually
forgive our sins (I John 1:5-9 ). God promised that He will use everything that happens
in our lives to help us get to heaven (Romans 8:28). God promised that He has
reserved a place in heaven for us, and that His power will protect us by working through
our faith (1 Peter 1:4,5).
God's most important objective in each of our lives is to bring us home to heaven
with Him. God will use everything that evil does to us, everything evil does in our lives
to move us closer to heaven. Evil works powerfully in this world, but God's power in
Jesus Christ is greater (1 John 4:4).
No matter what happens in our lives, not matter how much trouble and pain that
Satan causes in our lives, Satan cannot destroy one single promise God made to us.
Satan cannot stop God as He helps and sustains us in Jesus Christ.
Do we feel blessed? When do we feel blessed?
- Last Sunday evening we studied an incident in the life of Peter in Matthew
- We learned this sobering truth: we create great spiritual danger for ourselves
when we know facts and truths about God's will, but do not understanding God's
- God revealed to Peter that Jesus was the Christ.
- Peter understood that truth, that fact, but he did not understand God's
purpose in Jesus.
- So shortly after understanding the fact that Jesus was the Christ, he rebuked
Jesus when Jesus said that Jesus would be killed.
- When Peter declared that Jesus was the Christ, the living God's son, Jesus said,
"Peter, you are blessed."
- I wonder what thoughts and hopes went through Peter's mind when Jesus
said, "Peter, you are blessed"?
- The gospels reveal that all the disciples, including Peter, expected Jesus to
establish his kingdom by becoming the actual king of the nation of Israel.
- Since Peter thought Jesus would sit on a throne in the city of Jerusalem, I
wonder what Peter thought when Jesus said, "Peter, you are blessed."
- I wonder if he thought about the wealth of Abraham and Job?
- I wonder if he thought about the palaces of David and Solomon?
- I wonder if he thought about the prestige and the power of Israel's great
kings--certainly Jesus would be the greatest king Israel ever had.
- When Jesus said to Peter, "Peter, I am giving you the keys to my kingdom," I
wonder if he thought even more about the material blessings in his future.
- Jesus said that Peter was blessed; that was fact; Jesus did not lie about that.
- But Peter was blessed in ways that he could not imagine or grasp.
- Peter could not begin to comprehend the great blessings of Jesus.
- Personally, I doubt that Peter was capable of understanding the blessing that
Jesus knew Peter would receive.
- I want to think with you about some specific incidents that happened in
Peter's life after Jesus said, "You are blessed." As we look at each incident, I
want to ask the question, "Peter, do you feel blessed?"
- Peter, did you feel blessed the last night of Jesus' life?
- Jesus said that all of the twelve would desert him that night (Matthew
- You said that even if you had to die with him that you would not desert him.
- All the rest of the disciples said the same thing.
- You meant what you said; you were serious in your statement and your
- Later, while all of you were in the garden of Gethsemane, as many as 600
soldiers came to arrest Jesus (Matthew 26:47-52; John 18:10).
- You had a sword with you, and you drew it to fight all those soldiers.
- But Jesus told you not to fight, but to put up the sword, and you fled into
- Peter, as you ran from the garden did you feel blessed?
- A little later you returned to a courtyard where the Jewish leaders placed Jesus
on trial (Matthew 26:69-74).
- You watched the trial and saw the injustice of the situation.
- Jesus told you that you would deny that you knew him three times before
dawn (Matthew 26:31-35).
- As you watched the trial, you were recognized.
- A servant-girl said that you followed Jesus, and you said in a voice that
everyone could hear, "I don't know what you are talking about."
- Than another servant-girl said that you were one of Jesus' disciples, and
you said with an oath, "I don't know the man."
- Later, some bystanders said that you were one of Jesus' disciples, and
you cursed and swore saying, "I don't know the man!"
- Then you remembered what Jesus said, and you ran into the night
- Peter, did you feel blessed when you denied knowing Jesus and fled into the
- About two months later, you and the rest of the apostles were in the city of
Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit came upon all of you (Acts 2).
- A huge crowd of people gathered when they heard the unusual sound created
by the coming of the Spirit.
- At first, all twelve of you were speaking to the multitude in different languages
as the Spirit guided each of you.
- Then you, Peter, took control of the situation and preached to the whole
crowd--you proved to them that Jesus was Lord and Christ.
- This was in the same city, maybe in front of some of the same people, that
just two months earlier you cursed and swore saying you did not know Jesus.
- Peter, did you feel blessed when you preached that the resurrected Jesus
was Christ and Lord?
- Very quickly you became the most influential leader in this huge, new
congregation in the city of Jerusalem.
- You healed the lame man at the temple gate and created enormous interest
- When you and John were arrested for performing this miracle, you were the
spokesman before the Jewish court (Acts 4:8-12).
- You were the one who confronted Ananias and Sapphira when they attempted
to lie to God (Acts 5:1-10).
- You were so well known and respected in Jerusalem that people carried the
sick to the sides of streets hoping that you would walk by so that your shadow
would fall on them (Acts 5:15)
- You were the one who spoke before the court again when all twelve of you
apostles were arrested (Acts 5:26-32).
- You were the one who healed a man named Aeneas in the city of Lydda--he
had been paralyzed and in bed for eight years (Acts 9: 32-35).
- When Dorcas died in the city of Joppa, you were the one who brought her
back to life (Acts 9:36-43).
- You were the best known and most respected Christian leader in the whole
- Peter, did you feel blessed?
- Then the Lord Jesus asked you to use one of the keys to the kingdom that he
- Christ asked you to use that key in a way that you never would have
- In fact, the Lord did a lot of things to convince you to do what he wanted you
- The Lord sent an angel with a message to a man named Cornelius, who
was not a Jew (Acts 10:1-8).
- This angel told Cornelius to invite you into his home to teach him.
- Then the Lord, on the very next day, gave you the same vision three
times, and the vision really confused you (Acts 10:9-16).
- Then the Holy Spirit told you to go with the men who were looking for you
because the Holy Spirit sent those men to you (Acts 10:20).
- The next day, still confused, you visited with Cornelius (Acts 10:23-48)
- You asked him to explain why he had invited you to come to his home.
- After he explained, you finally understood that God wanted you to teach
this man and his friends about Jesus.
- As you were teaching them about Jesus, the Holy Spirit fell on them.
- That is when you fully understood that they had the right to be baptized,
and that is when you ordered them to be baptized.
- Peter, when you taught and baptized these people who were not Jews, did
you feel blessed?
- News of what you did traveled to Jerusalem fast--the apostles and Christians
throughout the whole region of Judea heard that Peter visited people who were
not Jews (Acts 11:1-18).
- When you came back, some of the influential members of the church were
upset because you associated with people who were not Jews.
- They confronted you and took issue with what you had done.
- After they listened to your explanation, they quieted down when you told them
that the Holy Spirit came on them just as it had on you.
- But after your visit to Cornelius, after you allowed them to be baptized, Acts
never again presents you as the leader of the Jerusalem church.
- You did what Christ and the Holy Spirit told you to do, you used a key to open
the kingdom to people who were not Jews, but Jewish people who were
already Christians did not like it.
- Peter, did you feel blessed when you did what Jesus wanted but your fellow
Christians did not want it?
- The fallout from Peter's visit with Cornelius was very painful for Peter.
- Later, he was visiting with the church in Antioch, with Christians who were not
Jews (Galatians 2:11-14).
- At first he was eating with these Christians and freely having fellowship with
- Then some Christians came from the Jerusalem church.
- They were from the same group who condemned Peter for visiting
- Peter was afraid of them.
- He stopped eating with Christians who were not Jews and refused to have
fellowship with them.
- He even convinced Barnabas and other Jewish Christians to stop having
fellowship with Christians who were not Jews.
- Paul told him publicly to his face that what he was doing was hypocritical and
- Peter, did you feel blessed when this happened?
- I want to call three things to your attention.
- Number one: sometimes our suffering causes us to feel blessed, and sometimes
our suffering causes us to be afraid.
- There were times when Peter obviously felt blessed by his suffering.
- Acts 5:40,41 is a specific example.
- When all the apostles were arrested, the court wanted to kill them.
- One member of the court (Gamaliel) convinced the court that would be a
- Instead of killing them, the court whipped them (flogged them) and
- After the whipping, they left the court rejoicing because they were
considered worthy to suffer shame for Jesus' name.
- But at times Peter did not feel blessed by the shame and suffering.
- Peter did not feel blessed when Christians condemned him for visiting
- That hurt Peter, and hurt him deeply.
- When he visited Antioch Christians who were not Jews, he was afraid of
some of the Jerusalem Christians who were Jews.
- Sometimes shame causes Christians to rejoice, and sometimes it causes
them to fear.
- Number two: It is not unusual for some Christians to resent a Christian who does
what the Lord wants him/her to do, but what they don't want done.
- The Lord and the Holy Spirit wanted Peter to teach people who were not
- Some Jewish Christians in Jerusalem did not want Peter to teach them.
- Peter paid a heavy price for doing what Jesus planned for him to do, a price
that left him afraid of some Christians he may have converted.
- Number three: The Lord used every experience in Peter's life to move him along
the road to heaven.
- The Lord used the agonizing failures and the amazing victories to move Peter
- There are some great moments on the road to heaven, and there are some
agonizing moments of pain.
- But the Lord uses all of them to bring us home to live with God.
One of our greatest challenges is to realize that God's blessings are working with
full power and strength even at those times when life is extremely painful. We want faith
to mature in the understanding that God uses everything that happens in our lives to
move us along the road to heaven.
If I could ask today, "Peter, do you feel blessed?" I know what he would say--and
so do you.
Let's walk the road to go Home.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
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