Sunday, August 5, 2018

Jesus' Leadership #29 He Believed In His Disciples (from Unstable 'Reed' to Immovable 'Rock')

Jesus looked at a promising young man and said, "You are blessed, Simon son of John… Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church, and all the power of hell will not conquer it…" (Read Matthew 16:16-19, NLT). Simon meant "Reed" (as in a plant that sways when any force pushes it) while Peter meant "stone" or "rock" (Jesus is "the Rock", Peter is a small rock, stone). Surely Jesus must have seen something special in Peter because his record shows that he was rather a reckless guy – hardly the kind of person you would declare to be a leader or pioneer of everything you were doing.

Peter was presumptuous when he trying to keep Jesus from going to Jerusalem because he was afraid, denying even knowing Jesus when He was captured by the Romans soldiers (this was his ultimate failure), and cutting off the Romans guard's ear with a sword after Jesus had preached love and forgiveness to him for about 3 years!

I think Jesus had to believe in His disciples and He was committed to change them. Their backgrounds were not glorious and they did not grasp what He was saying most of the time. They were constantly arguing over who is the greatest among them and they (once) dozed off and forgot Him when He needed them the most. Yet, these were the people He chose to be His apostles not just disciples and He believes the best in each of them – even when there was evidence to the contrary! He continues to give them great-Kingdom responsibilities and ultimately they were able to do it by His power and grace (except, Judas Iscariot).

It was because of His inner knowledge that allowed Jesus to give His disciples authority. He freely shared with them His longings, His Divine purpose, and even His humanity. If He did not believe in them, He would not have called them brothers [and sisters]. He would not have taken them whenever He goes and tells them about the things of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. You see, people tend to rise to the occasion when they have someone who truly believes in them. Perhaps we just need someone to show us who we really are inside. Perhaps that is what we are all so desperately searching for – someone who believes in us and to acknowledge the potential that we each sense about ourselves but are hesitant to show.

Peter went on to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to the formerly shunned Gentiles (see Acts 11:1-18). No other preacher or prophet (although Jonah preached to the Gentiles, he didn't bring Good News) had been called to go to the "unclean" Gentiles before with such Good News. According to church history, Peter eventually was crucified for his good work of preaching Christ and the Cross. In deference to Jesus, his Lord, it is said that he asked to be crucified upside down. This request came from a man whom everyone but Jesus called "Reed." Peter no more easily sway in his faith like a reed, his faith was firm and immovable like a rock!

To have someone we admire believe in us can help set our God-given greatness free. It certainly worked for Peter. Jesus believed in him and all of His disciples.

How can you show those who work with you that you believe in them?

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