In Luke 8- Peter and the disciples are with Jesus. At Jesus' request, they are crossing a lake in a boat. A storm blew in suddenly- and not a pop-up thunderstorm. The NIV calls it a "squall" which usually indicates high winds. The boat was being swamped and in danger of sinking. So the disciples were not over-reacting. Their lives were in danger. So they appropriately freaked out. Then they woke up Jesus. He calmed the wind and raging waters and then He asked them - "Where is your faith?" to which they responded " Who is this?"
Now fast-forward to Acts 12. Peter is in jail. Herod has just had James killed. The people were thrilled with his death so Herod planned a similar fate for Peter. The Bible says the night before Peter's trial, he was sleeping between two guards when an angel appeared and freed Peter from jail.
So what I want to know, no..what I need to know is what happened to Peter between Luke 8 and Acts 12. How did he go from a terrified disciple with Jesus right beside him to a man not afraid of death sleeping between two guards in a jail cell?
I think the key lies in the question the disciples asked in Luke 8:25. After Jesus had calmed the storm it says they asked one another in fear and amazement , "Who is this? He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him." They were disciples of Jesus but they still didn't really know who He was. Isn't it amazing how you can spend so much time with someone and still not really know who they are? The traveled together, ate together, ministered together...but they still had no idea who He was. I don't think they are any different from you and me. We are believers. We read our Bibles, we pray, we teach our children about Jesus. But most days we still have no clue who He really is.
Do you think I'm exaggerating? I mean, we know Jesus. We love Him, we gave our hearts to Him. We believe He paid the price for our sins. The people who have no clue are unbelievers, right? But the Bible says the disciples asked who He was. They had heard His teachings, left everything to follow Him, watched Him heal countless people...how could they still not know who He was? The same way we don't have a clue.
Most of us cannot make it through the storms of our circumstances without freaking out and demanding He intervene, forget about giving our actual life for the gospel. But that's okay because the disciple started here too. We just need to know how to get from where we are to where Peter ends up.
Somewhere between Luke 8 and Acts 12- Peter gets heart revelation of who Jesus is. It comes slowly over time as he lives in relationship with Jesus. Peter witnesses the transfiguration, the healing of a demon-possessed boy. He argues with the other disciples over who is the greatest. He ministers side-by-side with Jesus, then is sent out with others to minister without Him. He hangs out with Mary and Martha and sees Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. He listens to Jesus talk about how to pray- he hears the encouragement and warnings issued by Jesus. He sees Jesus love those no one else will love. He watches in amazement as Jesus empowers women, forgives sinners, and rebukes the religious elite. Peter breaks bread with Jesus at the Passover, fights for Him in the garden, and denies Him in the courtyard. But then the resurrection and Pentecost!
One thing you can say about Peter- the highs are very high and the lows are very low. He doesn't do anything half way! And this should give us great hope. No matter how low our lows have been- we can become fearless and free like Peter. We can sleep in perfect peace no matter the circumstances in our life- even as the enemy seems to have us surrounded. This kind of faith comes with the intentionality of just living daily life with Jesus. One day at a time.
C.S. Lewis said "But probably this will not, for most of us, happen in a day; poetry replaces grammar, gospel replaces law, longing transforms obedience, as gradually as the tide lifts a grounded ship.”
I love that. This is how it happened for Peter and the same can be true for us. Our hearts will be transformed and our minds will be renewed with the reality of who Jesus really is until one day we no longer recognize ourselves. We "suddenly" have become fearless followers of Jesus- not because we have to but because His Words and His Personhood have set out hearts on fire for the world to know Him as we do. And we will be the evidence of His goodness and His faithfulness to a world that has no clue.