Perfect in WeaknessJuly 2nd, 2012 by Lauren Lombard
In our last program we discussed faith that can move mountains. There is so much more that could be said and yet not fully cover this topic. I think what strikes me most is how we are given multiple opportunities for our faith to grow…and how God works with each of us individually.
In Matthew 17, Jesus really seems to be growing Peter’s faith. At the beginning of the chapter He selects three of the disciples to accompany Him to the top of a mountain: Peter, James, and John. The “Sons of Thunder” and impetuous Peter definitely needed some polishing, but thankfully Jesus could see beyond the surface to a passion and strength that would blaze trails and win souls in the not so distant future, but before that could happen they needed to stop focusing on themselves and be fully dependent on the God of the universe for their source of strength.
Peter probably thought he was pretty great. In the previous chapter he had just finished proclaiming Jesus as Lord. Now he had been to the mountaintop with Him and was higher than ever, after seeing God’s glory. He now knew even more clearly that this Jesus who he had been walking with for the past three years was the real deal.
However, he was still not ready. Jesus knew that right around the corner, there were circumstances that would try his faith and Peter needed to know that there was strength for him beyond what he could fathom.
In verses 24-27 of Matthew 17 we find the exchange between Jesus and His disciples, over paying the temple tax. Jesus turns to Peter, He again gives an opportunity for his faith to grow. He says: “Simon, what do you think?”
Then Jesus says something strange. Instead of pulling out a coin to pay the tax and appease the tax collectors, he asks Simon (Peter) to go cast a hook into the sea, catch a fish, open it’s mouth, and find the exact amount needed to pay the tax.
Nothing Jesus did was wasted. Here was an opportunity for Peter to learn. Jesus specifically chose something that Peter was very familiar with: fishing. In fact, this was his area of expertise. This is what he had dedicated his life to before Jesus came along, turned his world upside-down, and called him to become a fisher of men.
You know what?It is when we are confident and in control that it is difficult for us to surrender to God’s leading. Here Jesus was asking him to cast a single hook into the sea and catch a single fish…during the day, and just so happen to find money inside. It is often our strengths, rather than our weaknesses that keep us from depending on God. Peter knew how to fish, but Peter needed to do it Jesus’ way in order for God’s power to be shown and for his faith to grow.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says: “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Likewise, Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, says in Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”
In what ways is God calling you into a deeper relationship with Him? Are there areas of your life that you need to surrender to His leading so that your faith can grow?