Saturday, April 7, 2012

An Agonizing Journey with Peter


Today, this day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I felt led to share a study I wrote a while ago regarding Peter and the agony he dealt with before, during and after his denial of Jesus.

I hope you take the time to take out your bible and learn from this journey Jesus allowed in Peter’s life – a journey that was necessary for Peter to serve Jesus to the cross he would also die on for the sake of his Savior.

John 15:3 says:
“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

When you think of the word “clean” what comes to mind? (Do not look below, just answer with the first thing that comes to mind.)





Word Study:

The word “clean” in Greek is katharŏs means clean, clear, or pure.

Other places in the New Testament where the word katharŏs is used:

Matthew 5:8 - “Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.”
Acts 20:26 - “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.”
Titus 1:15 – “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.”

Webster’s definition of “clean”:  adjective 1 free from dirt  2 sinless  3 free from flaws  4 complete.

Now, taking all of the above information into consideration, re-read verse 3 and then write it below replacing “clean” with words that reflect your new understanding of the word.

“You are already ___________________________________________________
because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

Isn’t it exciting and wonderful to discover for yourself the truth God has waiting in His word when you look a little closer?  Come on and dive a little further in the next exercise.

Personal Application:

To answer the questions below image you are set with the task of cleaning a bathroom (toilet, mirror, sink, floor, etc.).

1.      Why does this room need to be cleaned?


2.      What types of tools and products will you need to accomplish your task?


Now, answer the same questions below thinking about undergoing a spiritual cleansing.

1.      Why would you need to be spiritually cleaned?


2.      What product is promised to work in this cleaning process? (v. 3)


Initial Summary:

Now take some time to summarize two new things you have discovered about John 15:3 and/or the word “clean”.

1.      ______________________________________________________________


2.      ______________________________________________________________

Again, write out verse 3 replacing “clean” with words that reflect your extended understandings of the word.

“You are already ___________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________

because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

Now you are warmed up and ready to go!  As you continue on remember only God alone can reveal Himself to you so proceed forward with a heart open to the leading of the Holy Spirit as one who desires to know and grow closer to the God as He invites you through the open invitation of the cross.

Take a pause here for a while.  What lessons do you hold onto the longest?  The ones you go through with ease or those you need to fight through because they rub against everything natural in your character? 


The same was true with Peter.  This lesson from the upper room was only part of a larger lesson Peter would slowly piece together over the next few days.  Jesus in His divine wisdom knew not to rush the slow and painful journey Peter needed to take.  Peter had much to learn in a very short time.  Follow the series of readings and questions below to see how God orchestrated the events in Peter’s life to prepare his character and heart for the calling Jesus would ultimately give him.

Read ahead to John 13:36 – 38
What would you say was clouding Peter’s heart as he made those remarks?




Then read John 18:15 - 17 & 25 – 27
Speculate what thoughts Peter had going through his head at this point in the evening?  What about his thoughts as the rooster crowed?  Do you see the cloud lifting?




Consider now the length of the rest of the night for Peter as Jesus was held by the Jewish High Priest and he did not have the courage within him to stand beside his friend.  Think about the crucifixion and how heavy Peter’s heart was with guilt and shame over the words he had spoken.  Peter had three long days to think about his last conversations with Jesus (including the feet washing in the upper room) and by the end of this time Peter’s guilty conscience had done its perfect work in sweeping away his clouded vision and preparing him for humble service.

Finally read John 21: 7 – 19
What was the ultimate reason for Peter’s difficult lesson? (v.18 & 19)




Now go back the reading in John 13.  Jesus continues His lesson with Peter, knowing His words will ring in Peter’s ears over the next few days.

What does Jesus say in verse 8b? ___________________________________
________________________________________________________________

Again Peter shows his misunderstanding of the lesson by asking for not only for his feet to be washed but also his hands and his head.

What does Jesus say only needs to be washed for those who have already been bathed?  ____________________________________________________

Remember what we learned in our word study of “clean” on pages 5 and 6?  The Greek word used for clean in John 13:10 is the same as the one used in John 15:3. 

Take some time to write down any thoughts you have to add to your definition of “clean” or about the process of spiritual cleansing.






As Jesus finishes the washing, replaces His garment and sits down He asks a question but does not allow the disciples to answer.

What command does Jesus given in verse 14?___________________________
______________________________________________________________________

Summarize the reasoning Jesus gives for this lesson and command.  (Hint you will find all you need in verses 13, 15 and 16.)




Our reading ends with Jesus saying that those who “know these things” and “do them” they will be “blessed.”  But if we were to expand the Greek of this verse out a bit it would say:  If you understand these things to the fullness of their intended application, you will be supremely blessed if you abide in them.  You see, cleansing leads to understanding and understanding leads to abiding. 

Abiding in Jesus Christ is the goal of all God does in our lives; it is where we come into an intimacy with God that rules our entire life.  As Peter learned through these difficult circumstances God allows a human heart to be broken for the greater purpose of its ability to abide with God.  I pray you may embrace any difficult circumstances you may have going on in your life today, knowing God will use them to bring you closer to Him.

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