In our co-op homeschool we are studying the Armour of God, and various themes that arise from digging into that passage in Ephesians. This is the stuff children love: dragons and knights, Masters and slaves, weapons and enemies to battle.
Last week we talked about standing firm, and what it means to stand fast in the face of danger and certain death. Two examples of men who did so are Peter the apostle, and Martin Luther.
Peter was called to be a disciple of Jesus while he worked as an ordinary fisherman. He was an impulsive man, passionate and quick to speak or act. He was the only disciple who got out of the boat when Jesus was walking by on the water - yet his faith quickly faltered as he looked at the winds and the waves, instead of keeping his eyes on Jesus.
When Jesus asked the disciples, who do they say that I am, it was Peter who declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus told the disciples that upon this "Rock", Peter, He would build His church, but in the next breath He had to rebuke the disciple for hindering Him as He set his face toward Jerusalem and His crucifixion and death.
On the Mount of Transfiguration, this impulsive disciple didn't know what to say or do... so he offered to build tents to house the Lord and Moses and Elijah. He reacted to the soldiers who came to arrest Jesus by slicing off an ear of the servant. And after stating emphatically that he'd die for Jesus if necessary, it was Peter who denied our Lord three times.
He doesn't sound like a knight to me, when I think about his inauspicious beginning.
But when Jesus arose, everything changed.
Peter went from being a brash man who spoke his mind too quickly and acted on impulse, to a Knight of God.
Consider these events that took place after the resurrection of Jesus:
He took on a leadership role among the believers.
He preached a powerful sermon at Pentecost.
He healed the sick in the name of Jesus.
He did this all publicly, without fear of reprisal, which certainly was coming. The Saduccees had Peter and John arrested and thrown into prison. The next day they were brought forth to answer to the religious leaders.
On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family.
Notice who was questioning Peter. Annas, the high priest, and Caiaphas - the very men who hated Jesus and cried out for His blood. The very men who orchestrated the events that led to His crucifixion. These men were powerful. These men were full of hate.
And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”
Imagine the scene. The high-priests would have been sitting there on raised platforms, dressed in their robes, with servants and soldiers around them. Peter and John would have been hauled forth from the prison cell, with no chance to wash up or change their clothes. Peter, who had denied Christ just weeks before, spoke up bravely:
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. There was no mistake about Peter's declaration. This power to heal is from Jesus.
Whom you crucified. There was no beating around the bush. You religious leaders killed Him, but He has risen, and He is the cornerstone - the most important part of the building.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
(Acts 4:5-13 ESV)
Peter stood before the very men who had plotted his Lord's death. He boldly proclaimed the truth, trusting God for the results. Truly, this man was a Knight of God.