Today, we will look at several of the steps Peter took up until the time of the cross, noting both the good and the bad experiences that shaped him ultimately into the “rock” that Jesus envisioned. By revealing both the positive and negative experiences in his development, we will see quite clearly how human he was, how much like him we are at times, but also see the transforming power of Christ to use all kinds of experiences to shape us into his character. Here are eight stories that will serve as 8 steps in his “Struggle to Grow”:
- Peter’s ___________________________________ is blessed by the Lord’s presence. Matthew 8:14-15 Jesus has the Power to Heal!
- Peter’s struggle between _____________________ and _________________________. This is one of more memorable and familiar stories about Peter as found in Matthew 14:25-32. Trust Christ in everything you do!
- Peter’s insight and immediate __________________________________ of faith. Matthew 16:13-19 Peter’s development: Christ is the Foundation for his church and our lives! PETER’S STRUGGLE TO GROW “Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Peter (a rock).’” John 1:42
- Peter and Jesus trade ________________________! Mark 8:31-33 This Jesus’ life will bring Suffering!
- Peter’s spontaneous reaction to the glorious ____________________________________. Here’s this story as told by Mark in Mark 9:2-8. Jesus is Supreme!
- Peter’s ___________________________ of himself and the other apostles. Mark 10:34-41 The call of Christ involves Sacrifice!
- Peter’s excellent ___________________________________ to a critical question. Here’s the story in John 6:66-68. Hope is found only in Christ!
- One more ___________________________ from Peter! John 13:6-9: Love is shown through Serving.
Now there are several other examples of Peter’s growth process in the four gospels and even continuing into the book of Acts. But these 8 stories show clearly the ups and downs of his character building. It was a struggle as these incidents show both the good and bad side of Peter. Yet, that’s what the Lord wants from us – to be real, to be genuine, to be humble, and quick to repent.
Peak Passage of the Week:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world, the spiritual forces of evil.” Ephesians 6:12
QUESTIONS & EXERCISES
For Daily Devotionals or Bible Study Group
- The title of this message is “Peter’s Struggle to Grow.” Does growth always have to be a struggle? Why do some struggle more than others? Why is growth often associated with struggle?
- Let’s connect Peter’s struggles with his emotions. Take the 8 stories in our lesson and con-struct a rough graph of how you think Peter was feeling. From 1 being, “he was feeling very low and bad about himself” to 5 being, “he was full of joy and confidence.” Rank each with a number between 1 and 5 and see what your graph of his emotions shows you about him (and us) in our struggle to grow. What are some lessons that come out of this exercise?
- In doing the above, you will see that the Bible describes both the bad (the discouraging, humiliating) experiences with the good ones (the exhilarating). Do you think we learn more from our mistakes than our victories? Why or why not?
- This lesson plainly demonstrates that spiritual growth is a process, much like a pathway that we travel with Jesus by our side. This would be an excellent time to review the “5 Stages of Spiritual Growth” that we have posted on our website and was the subject of a recent series. Why is it so helpful to understand that growth is not always on an upward plane and that growth comes in stages; it is a progression?
- In these first two lessons, what are some of the things you are learning about Peter? About his actions? About his heart? About his spontaneous reactions? About his ability to learn and change? How do you see some of these same things in your life?