The apostle Peter is sometimes referred to as “impetuous Peter” because of his often impulsive words and actions. It is true that Peter often speaks up without first giving it adequate thought. An amazing part of our record of the words and actions of Peter is that he often told the Lord “no” and that the Lord was wrong. When Jesus told His apostles that he would go to Jerusalem, suffer, be killed and raised again the third day, Peter “began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee” (Matt. 16:21-22). When the Lord told the apostles that they would be offended of Him that night, Peter said, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended” and “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee” (Matt. 26:31-35). While in the upper room at the Passover meal, as the Lord came to wash Peter’s feet, Peter said to Him, “Thou shalt never wash my feet” (John 13:6-8). After the establishment of the Lord’s church, Peter being in Joppa and on the roof of the house of Simon the tanner, whose house was by the sea side, the Lord told Peter to “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord…”, and did so three times (Acts 10:9-16). This is four examples of the apostle Peter refusing to accept the words of the Lord!
Many are quick to chastise or criticize Peter for his shortcomings. And indeed, what a grievous thing it is to tell the Lord, even face to face, no, you are wrong! However, often people forget to get the beam out of their own eye before trying to get the mote out of the eyes of others. Jesus said, “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:5). The Lord has spoken to us today too. He has done so by way of His word. Quoting from the book of Deuteronomy, Peter said, “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you” (Acts 3:22). On the Mount of Transfiguration, God had said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5). The writer of the book of Hebrews wrote, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…” (Heb. 1:1-2). Since the Lord has spoken to us, it might be wise to question if we are not doing the same as did Peter, “telling the Lord no”.
The Lord has told us that we are now to follow the law of Christ rather than the old law of Moses (Matt. 17:5; Heb. 1:1-2). Yet, may will say, “not so Lord, we must still live by the Ten Commandments. The Lord said that He fulfilled the old law (Matt. 5:17). Paul wrote that we are dead to the old law of Moses, delivered from that law and married to another, even to “him who is raised from the dead” (Rom. 7:4-6). He even specifies one of the Ten Commandments as being of that law that had been removed (Rom. 7:7).
The Lord says that one must do what He commands in order to be saved (Matt. 7:21). Many deny what the Lord has said. They do so by denying that there is anything that one must do, else salvation becomes a product of works rather than “by grace are ye saved through faith” (Eph. 2:8-9). Doing what the Lord commanded is not salvation by works but salvation by faith. Those who do not have enough faith to believe that the Lord will provide salvation upon obedience to His will do not have enough faith to provide salvation. The Lord meant just exactly what He said, whether one believes it or not.
The Lord said that one must believe AND be baptized (Mark 16:16). Yet, many deny what the Lord said. They say that one is saved when they believe and then should be baptized as some kind of outward sign of an inward grace. As Peter spoke the word of the Lord on the day of Pentecost; he told those seeking to know what they needed to do to “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38). Ananias told Saul of Tarsus, “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). So many just tell the Lord, “no”.
The Lord says that not all churches will stand in the judgment (Matt. 15:13). Yet, so many deny what the Lord said. He said that He would build His church, yet multitudes say, “One church is as good as another”. Multitudes say that we are all going to the same place, just taking different routes to get there, but the Lord says that one must follow the strait and narrow if they desire eternal life (Matt. 7:13-14). People say, “join the church of your choice”, but the Lord says that He will add the saved to His church (Acts 2:47; I Cor. 12:18).
It is so easy to cast stones at one who would openly deny the words of the Lord as did Peter. Yet, it is also very easy to refuse to see when we do the same thing today by our actions and our teachings. When the word of God says one thing and we hold to something else, we have done the same as did Peter. Peter had the good sense to correct his wrong. Let us do the same. (Send any questions or comments to: email@example.com)