|Lessons of leadership and influence from the Apostle Peter.|
The Apostle Peter gets a bad rap sometimes. We hear Sunday School lessons and sermons depicting his denial of Christ, his impulsive comments and rash behavior. But when those personality traits were placed under the control of the Holy Spirit, a fire for God was started that the firehose of persecution could not put out.
Peter became a leader in the early church. His influence persuaded thousands to follow Christ and the flame that burned within him radiated out to the point that even his shadow falling over people healed them.
What can we learn from this brash fisherman turned preacher about leadership and influence?
- Lesson: When the boat is sinking get out of it. God is there to hold our hand. When all the apostles were in a sinking boat, Peter is the only one who stepped out in faith to walk on water. Yes, he eventually sank, but at least he got out of the boat. He is the only person other than Jesus who has ever walked on water. The boat was sinking yet the rest of the guys stayed in the boat. That’s amazing. (Matthew 14:24-32)
- Lesson: Stand up for what we believe. Peter took a stand when all the others could do was repeat what the crowds had said about Jesus. He stood out from the other disciples to declare that he believed Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus said the truth of that statement is what the church would be built upon. (Matthew 16:13-19)
- Lesson: Allow the Holy Spirit to redirect passions. Peter’s impetuous actions implored Jesus to stay away from Jerusalem to avoid crucifixion and Jesus had to rebuke him (Matthew 16:22-23). He also drew a sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant in the garden of Gethsemane (John 18:10. Peter was probably trying to take off the man’s head and when the man ducked Peter’s sword caught his ear. Peter was impulsive with his words and actions, but his forcefulness was used in a positive way to expand the kingdom of God when under the control of the Holy Spirit.
- Lesson: Don’t stay in regret; repent and move forward. When
Peter failed, he repented. After denying Christ, he was tormented by what he
had done and he wept bitter tears. He still loved His Master; that’s why what
he did hurt so much. He still wanted to follow Christ. (Luke 22:54-62)
- Lesson: Don’t fear consequences. Peter denied Christ when the Master was arrested, but this denier was the same one who preached on the day of Pentecost and 3,000 people were saved (Acts 2: 14-41). When he was later arrested he told his accusers he had to obey God and not men (Acts 5:29).
- Lesson: Submit to God and allow humility to take over. Be willing to admit when we are wrong (Galatians 2:11-12). Peter was willing to take the criticism of Paul and allow correction. Peter didn’t take offense at this. Peter later quoted Paul and said his words were scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16).
- Lesson: Put Jesus first. Peter was willing to die for His
Lord (John 21:18-19), (Matthew
I can identify with Peter in his failures. I haven’t always been obedient to my Lord. I have deniedChrist when I should have stood up for Him. I have allowed fear to control me instead of stepping out in faith. But I also want to learn from this wise follower of Christ and turn those failures into faith steps to influence the world around me.
What about you? What would you like to remember about Peter or one of the other early church leaders? Share your thoughts.