Peter’s Grace and Greatness
November 9, 2014
With Martha Kilpatrick and hosted by John Enslow
Special guests: Jennifer Wentzel and Jim Pierce
(Jennifer) Well, I was just thinking, you know, we don’t really know necessarily what they sound like. Like sometimes when they say, “and so and so spoke in the square,” and we don’t know what the cadence was or what that would have looked like, but it just seems to me that the sheer horror of the pain that Peter would have experienced when the rooster crowed that morning, and it all just kind of came flooding in, because that’s how I imagine it happening. Like you’re in kind of this daze and you’re not really, you know what I mean? And you’re kind of moving away from and then all of a sudden, fump! Focus! And he realizes, “Before the cock crows you will deny Me three times.” And it’s just all right there, you know? That level of pain, that level of repentance, which he would have experienced would likewise have opened the door to an incredible ability, I think, for forgiveness and grace to be extended, because it made me think immediately of Jesus saying, “the one who is forgiven much, loves much.” And as, John, as you were talking about that, about Christ coming in and bringing us to His death, I thought even in that you don’t stay there and not unto His death, but yes into His death, crucifixion, so that His life can be there, and His life and all that goes with it including that complete righteousness and holiness to audaciously confront people for the exact same sin, but also the overwhelming love and grace and forgiveness that would have followed immediately upon the repentance of any of them.
(Jennifer) Because he would also know what it was to be forgiven enormously.
(J) Right. Umhmm.
(Jennifer) And I think about that sometimes, and I’m beginning to wonder if the places in my life, where it feels like my forgiveness is a work, if that’s not because I have been unwilling to see something in me, to see something that He’s trying to show me; if there’s not a mountain for me where I have not received forgiveness for myself for my sins, and therefore don’t have that ready grace, don’t have the life in that place to move that mountain as if it were nothing. I don’t know. I’m purely speculating at this point, but I just, that’s such a huge… I’m just gonna have to stay on this Peter thing.
(M) Well, let’s go back to the Galilee on the shore where Jesus cooked the fish. And that’s one of our favorite places where I always weep, carry on at that place, because that was redemptive. That was His saying, “You love Me. Do you love Me? I’m going to assign to you this enormous project. Feed My sheep. I trust you because now..” See, we think trust is having personal character, but God’s trust is when we can repent, and when we can see ourselves, and when we can die. So it was totally redemptive. He denied Him three times and Jesus asked him three times. And you and I have had enormous revelation in that place, and you wept there powerfully. So… We don’t understand. We don’t understand the process, really, that repentance is for such transformation. Just not only the change from me to Him…
(Jim) It seems like the most crucial part of our testimony. Peter had to stand up and talk about it. What would he… I mean, if you had to talk in front of a group about his, the time he met Jesus to that time, he’s probably going to go to the denial of Jesus. That’s the worst thing. It’s about his testimony and the Blood.
(M) But what I’m thinking of is what we just read, that Peter was the foolish thing that ended up confounding the wise. He was the passionate, outlandish, foot-in-mouth man, and Jesus took him everywhere, to the highest places, to the Mt. of Transfiguration, because he was just so wide open and so foolish, and that’s the kind that Jesus is going to build his church on, the foolish, base, despised, scorned, nothings. He’s the example.
(J) Thank God, huh?
(M) Yeah. But see, it’s not only that we’ve been in repentance; we have been being reduced, leveled to be nothing. And Peter had to become nothing before he could be so indwelt. He had to find out he was nothing and could do nothing. He could not be as loyal as he longed and passionately wanted to be. He could not be that. He stands for that, that base humanity that’s willing to feel what he feels and say what he thinks and be such an outlandish… Jump out of the boat and swim… I love Peter. So what is the principle I’m trying to get out; that repentance leads to holiness, and holiness leads to an experience of God. I think that’s what I, I wanted to get.
(J) I think you did it very sufficiently. Yeah, I think you did.
(M) Did I do it? Well, with a lot of help from you all. You look rich over there. You got anything else?
(Jennifer) I had thought about Peter, the man. I tend to have this kind of fantastical idealistic idea of what it means to live open-heartedly. You know what I mean? And there are things about Peter that I love, that I respond to, you know; in some ways envy. I can’t honestly say that Jennifer Wentzel would have leapt off that boat. She would have been with the other ones, “like seriously, where did this storm come from. What’s going on? Look at that ghost. Guy’s, I don’t want to panic anybody, but I watched Ghost Hunters three weeks in a row. This is real. This is real spectral action we have here. Somebody get a fishing rod.” I mean, I would have been leading the charge for everything I’ve read about the existence of ghosts and spirits and all the rest of that. It’s fine. I can’t say. I don’t know. I don’t know what I would have read back then, scrolls. Anyway, but it wasn’t just that. It was the full picture of Peter. Peter was a man who was afraid. He was impulsively brave. He cut off an ear. He wasn’t supposed to, so Jesus put the ear back on. But, you know, I mean, he could be impulsively brave, and also so riddled with fear that he became a coward, which was the denying of Jesus three times. The cowardice overrode the love, the loyalty, all the rest of it; that doubt, that… He was open-hearted. I’m just beginning to get a better picture of what it means to be the foolish thing, that you have… You know, Oswald Chambers talks about that, about the heights that humanity can reach in crisis and these sorts of things. He says, you know, it’s quite impressive, which is why he focuses on what it is to be in the day to day and all the rest of that. And I appreciate his perspective on that. And he talked about that’s where most people are tested, where it’s not a chance to either go above and beyond or hide in the back of a closet where it’s pretty extreme. But I look at Peter and I think of that. I think of all that went into that, and that that’s what it is to be a foolish thing; to not just have those moments where you leap out of the boat, but to acknowledge the moments where, you know, you’re so effusive in your open-heartedness that God smacks you on the nose with the newspaper and says, “Get thee behind Me, Satan.” Within two sentences, do you understand? You go from being pronounced the Rock upon which the Church will be built to, “Seriously, dude, you couldn’t have stopped right there? What are you doin? Hush.” You know what I mean? It’s that he couldn’t be other than what he was. He just lived out of his heart and sometimes that earned him great commendation and sometimes Jesus, you know, shut him down. Absolutely. You know, called him out. And I just, I just had such a picture of the foolish thing, and it just occurs to me I always look at it and say it was the commendable moments that Jesus was talking about when he talked about Peter. I don’t see that as that anymore. If he says, “I chose the foolish things,” He meant the whole package. He meant the Peter that He had to say, “Get thee behind Me, Satan.” He meant the Peter that, you know, even though Jesus said, alright I’m going to go with them, lashed out with a sword and cut a man’s ear off. And He had to put the ear back on. He meant the Peter who took his eyes off Jesus and sunk down below the waves. He meant the Peter that denied Him three times, because He knew all there was to know of Peter. And it wasn’t just those wonderful moments that we look at with Peter. It was the whole package that He loved. And I don’t know, but I’m just struck right now about how humbling that is, and that’s a pretty great piece of permission “to be.” And instead of putting myself in these categories and saying well that was a good moment and that was not so great, maybe to just say the foolish thing is going to have the full spectrum, so stop looking at only one end. You know.
(M) Well, one beloved one amongst us did something really stupid in the last 10 days, and I could say, “So sorry, you’re just a stupid lamb, just a stupid sheep.” And to come down to that level both of being who you are; human, foolish, and accepting it, and letting it be and letting go of your own mistakes and going on. That is humility, and humility is so beautiful, because it’s so rare in humanity. And it’s just, just one day I’m going to have a booklet on sheep, and it’s going to be about also how we are the foolish thing. And the day you can say, “I am the foolish thing. Oh, well, there it is, God. Here I am,” then you will be in the same favor that Peter had with God. A big day! Hard to come to, but a day of liberty. “I’m just a sheep. You said I was dumb.”
(J) I is! Haha!
(M) I is! Hahaha! The marvel is He doesn’t expect us… He doesn’t expect us to be anything. Nee said it. Nee wrote it, and it changed my life years and years ago. Nee said, “God didn’t have any expectations of you. He knows you can’t do it. All His expectations are of Himself.” And all we have to do is just yield and give Him a little chance to do what He wants to do with us, and just… Ha. Then He will, He will achieve it. It’s so deep in us to think that we can be something. “Should be, have to be,” Carole said. Yeah. Umhmmm. I was told, “I am and should be.”
(J) Umhmm, umhmm.
(M) “And I can do it.”
(J) “Rots a ruck, Charrie.” Ahahahahah. Hahahahahhhh! Ohh, God!
Peter’s Grace and Greatness – Episode #414 – Shulamite Podcast