SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
2 Peter 1
Key Verse: His divine power has given us everything we need (italics added) for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (NIV) -- 2 Peter 1:3
What a beautiful phrase – “everything we need”! More beautiful still is the truth embodied in these three words – God has given us everything we need through the glory and goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!
Ponder again who says this. This affirmation comes from Peter. Who was Peter? You remember him, don’t you?
Peter was the one who, even though the leader of the twelve, had a gift for putting his foot in his mouth. He was the one whose counsel Jesus rejected so strongly that he said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew , NIV). \
Peter was a coward and a liar. During the mock trial of Jesus, Peter was so scared for his own hide that he denied even knowing Jesus, rather than admit he was one of Jesus’ followers. This was the moment in the courtyard when the rooster crowed, as Jesus had said it would.
However (What a great word, a word we can use about others, and ourselves because of the life-changing power of the grace of God!), Peter did not remain a wayward man! He “went outside and wept bitterly” and the rest is history! God redeemed him, changing him from a liar into an apostle of Truth! God unchained him from his past!
Along with Paul, Peter became an impressive leader of the Christian movement, the movement God initiated with the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. His two New Testament letters flowed out of the mature years of a dynamic ministry that helped shape the future of the young church.
Do you see what this says to us? Is this not Good News? Have you not often identified with Peter’s foolishness, cowardice, and lying? I know I have many times, and every time I have rejoiced that God is still able to use less than perfect disciples!
Have you not cried, as I have, “Lord, what you did in Peter’s heart, do again in my own! Take me, sorry as I am, and make me what you want me to be.”
So, as we reflect on God’s “great and precious promises,” join me in giving thanks for that divine power that can change us from weaklings into strong followers of Jesus!
Celebrate with me that it was Peter whom God chose to show us that, through Jesus, we have everything we need to live well and to become godly men and women whose daily lives reflect the glory that comes from walking with Jesus Christ.
We must look seriously at what God expects of us – after his power has made us new. That Peter makes clear. We are to grow in faith, allowing his grace to change us, and change us, and keep on changing us. The changing lasts until we are, finally, made “perfect in love” and received into the Father’s House.
Please do not trip over God’s expectations of us. He wants us to grow, measuring our lives not by how we compare with other Christians but how we compare with Jesus. Can we live like Jesus lived? No, not perfectly of course. But God expects us to try, and to let him help us! In the process of “giving our best to the Master,” the Spirit makes us fruitful, and growth in grace occurs.
Our spirit should be like that expressed in the old gospel song – “More like the Master I would ever be.” Our aim is too low unless it is to become like our Lord.
Peter describes the “nearsighted and blind” Christian as one who “has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” Clearly this tells us that Peter never forgot the risen Lord’s redeeming work in his life. We must not forget either.
Grady Watson Jr. is one of the most Christlike men I have ever known. A farmer, Grady found peace with God in much the same way as Peter. Grady’s witness has blessed hundreds of people for many years, especially in Lay Witness Missions.
Grady was in a field, on his tractor when he met the Master. His repentance allowed God to unchain him from his past much like Peter had been released. I will let Grady share his wonderful testimony with you
“I was a lost human being…. I saw myself as rotten as a human being could ever be. I was so undone. I saw that I had run from the Master for too long. I had wasted so many years….What was most important was that I was away from Jesus. And I knew it, and I began to tell Him (to confess, that is, just exactly how I saw myself: a lost sinner.
“The tractor was still running, going up and down the rows and I began to tell Him how rotten I saw myself, as honestly as I knew how to I confessed it all, and the first thing I knew tears began to come in my eyes. Now remember, I’d been in the war, on bloody battlefields, and hadn’t cried in years, but tears began to run down my face and drop off my chin. I couldn’t see how to run the tractor any longer, but I kept telling Him all the rottenness that was inside….I just kept telling him until I told Him all that I knew and understood of my rotten, selfish self.
“I finally finished, and when I did, I lifted my hands up in surrender, and just said, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, will you take me now just like I am? Jesus, I can’t clean myself up. Jesus I need You. I want to give myself to You, all of me, just like I am. Will you take me please, and clean me up?
“And then it looked like all of heaven opened up to me. God, through His Holy Spirit, came to me in a fresh way, in a fullness that I had never before experienced. He brought me peace beyond any peace I’d ever found in all my days….He brought me a peace that I never dreamed possible, and He brought me something else – to my amazement, He brought me a love beyond any love I’d ever known, to let me understand that He loved me – just like I was.
“He didn’t ask me how much I cursed. He didn’t ask me how much more was wrong with me. He didn’t ask me anything, He just took me like I was, just exactly like I was.
“The next thing I knew, I began to just reach my hands up as high as I could get them and said, ‘Thank you, Jesus.’ And, I said, “Lord Jesus, will you do something else for me? Will you take this cursing away from me? I don’t want to curse anymore. I want to get rid of this, Lord. I don’t want it to be a part of me anymore.’ And He did – He set me free of it. He took it off my lips. He took it out of my heart for good. I haven’t uttered another word of profanity since that day….
“Then I took that old tractor and put it in gear, and started going down the row praising the name of Jesus. The victory that I needed God had been willing to share with me – just like I was; I could not help but praise Him, over and over and over and over.”*
I have an idea that when Grady gets to heaven, he and Saint Peter will have a great time sharing with each other their stories of God’s amazing grace! Both found everything we need in Jesus Christ!
+ + + + (Walter may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
from the new book, Any Old Bush Will Do,
edited and compiled by Carolyn R. Larrimore,