His CV didn’t look particularly well. He had only one item to list under Prior Occupation, the exact same item under Experience and to make the matters worse – it did take him a while to pick up any new training material and apply it. See, he was just a simple man – a nobody. An anybody. You couldn’t find them more ordinary than him. I bet if we sat down and compared ourselves against him, you and I would have far more to boast about. Our CVs would most definitely beat his (by far). How could a raw and potentially rude, uneducated fisherman trump us?
Apostle Peter was extremely underqualified. Many of the other disciples were too and that’s exactly the point. By any standards, today’s or during their time they were supposed to pathetically fail. But they didn’t. Peter was extremely impulsive, very quick to speak and a massive risk taker. Stuff you wouldn’t want to appear on your job application nowadays. Yet he got the job, the promotion, the bonuses and the retirement.
But let’s get back to the impulsive part. He saw something and he just went for it. On one occasion he saw Jesus walking on water. It was a dark and stormy night and everyone around him was shaking in fear but none of this seemed to matter. He saw Jesus walking on water, he wanted to do it as well and he went for it. Today we see Peter’s impulsiveness as a negative aspect of his character but we might be wrong. What if this was the very thing which allowed his brief moments of faith to turn into life-changing events? What if this was the key which lifted the barriers before his faith? It sure made him stand out, because in Luke 24 we read that while the rest of the disciples were arguing with the women that Jesus couldn’t have risen Peter was already at the tomb – checking it out for himself. He had to see it so badly that he ran for it (which in 1st century sandals surely isn’t very comfortable).
He wasn’t perfect. Far from it. At one point he was so sure of himself that he told Jesus he would die before he fails him. And only a few hours later he betrayed him… not once, not twice but three times. May it be for our encouragement to know that in spite of this, Jesus loved him so much that in John 21 He reinstated him. Peter wasn’t perfect but now he was made perfect before God and he was made perfect in a way that he himself would remember.
All of the disciples were a little slow in understanding the teachings of Jesus but eventually they got the point. They saw the resurrected Christ and things started to make sense. A little later, when the Holy Spirit was poured on them their equipment packages were complete. This time they all went for it, not just Peter. And they didn’t just go for it out of plain impulse but they had faith, the support of each other and most importantly – the wisdom, peace and power of the Holy Spirit. In the eyes of the religious leaders (and many others), however, they remained undervalued. They beat them up and told them to shut their mouths. How is that for a graduation ceremony! It took them years to become the messengers they were and now almost everyone was against them.
Glory and honor be to the Lord for not allowing this to be the end of the story! While they were underqualified the Lord picked them up and made them qualified. When He empowered them to go out and spread peace, healing, salvation and joy they were undervalued. But that didn’t matter. They knew that they were valuable to Jesus. So they kept pressing on and with success because everyone who was against them greatly underestimated them just as they had underestimated Jesus Himself.
You and I often reenact this today, except we tend to play two of the three roles ourselves… with the occasional attempt to play God as well. A single word of discouragement or criticism is usually enough to make us seem underqualified and then push us to undervalue ourselves. Some days we don’t even need a word of discouragement – we see ourselves as not good enough. For a moment or two it seems that we let go of the power of the Holy Spirit and forget how much we matter to Christ. We might not matter much to the people around us but we sure matter to Christ. Glory and honor be to the Name of the Lord for not allowing this to be the end of the story for you and for me!
While the enemy is underestimating us, let us not underestimate our God and what He is capable of achieving in and through you and me! He has drafted us just like He needed us – impulsive, passionate, quick to take the leap of faith. We might not be perfect just yet, but He is making us closer to perfect each day. He has poured the Holy Spirit upon us. He has equipped us with a state-of-the-art toolkit and is not going to leave our side. It no longer matters what was on your CV when you handed it to God. You’re a different person now. You are a conqueror.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
– Romans 8:37-39, NIV