Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor
Volume V, Issue IX
Our Once and Future Hope
This week the 'other' weekly news magazine features The Once and Future Pope [click to read]. The issue deals with the politics of the Vatican. Certainly the modern Pope wields a great amount of power in the affairs of nations. That was not always the case.
Consider the man, Peter, whom Christ mentored to serve His first small band of disciples. He was a common man, a fisherman. Certainly he was no stranger to dangerous situations, but when Jesus was being tried by religious and secular bodies prior to His crucifixion, Peter's flesh grew weak and he denied Christ three times. The story is recorded in Luke 22 and shows the human frailty of a great saint.
In Matthew 8:14 we learn Peter had a Mother-in-law. The first elder of the Church was married and ran a household. He was given to impetuous reactions, as when he cut off the ear of a high priest's servant. (John 18:10). He perhaps had more confidence in his courage than he should have (Luke 22: 33-34). Most of us can relate to his humanity in some way. Yet Jesus beckoned him to step into the work of a better Kingdom!
Matthew 14:22-33 Tells us the story: "And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of G-d."
As long as Peter's attention was focused on Christ, he could follow Him onto the water. When he took his eyes off of Jesus and concentrated on the churning seas, he sank. There is a lesson for leaders here, and history bears it out in the lives of men like William Wilberforce and George Müller, men who found incredible strength for the tasks they undertook. But it was not a strength found in themselves that spurred them on, rather it came from a Faith fixed on the person of Jesus. Wilberforce labored for decades to end the scourge of slavery in British lands [1.] and Müller provided homes for thousands of orphans without ever making one single appeal for money. [2.]
These were not superior men, I would argue. They were men who had a firm sense of their hope and promise in G-d. That led them to perform great works, drawing on a power that could only be found in The Divine, they changed the world.