Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. | Matthew 4:19
With those words, the Lord Jesus first called Peter. And the young fisherman didn’t hesitate—he immediately dropped his nets and followed Jesus (Matthew 4:18-20).
Don’t you love the impetuousness of Peter? Fishing wasn’t just a hobby—it was his job, his livelihood. If I were him, I would have spent a few days thinking about Jesus’s offer. You know, give it some thought. Sleep on it. Consider the options. But that’s not what Peter did.
He immediately left everything behind
to follow Jesus.
Was the Jesus-following journey that began that day easy for Peter? Not at all. He was an imperfect human, just like us. Again and again, he messed up. Again and again he made mistakes or blurted out foolish things. Again and again he did embarrassing things that he regretted later on.
Like the time he asked Jesus about a parable but was rebuked for being “without understanding” (Matthew 15:15-16).
Or the time he blurted out a foolish suggestion during the transfiguration because he didn’t know what to say (Luke 9:33).
Or the time he began to sink in the waters because of his fear and was chastised by Jesus for his lack of faith (Matthew 14:30-31).
Or the time he foolishly tried to convince Jesus not to die on the cross, to which Jesus responded, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:22-23).
Or the time he couldn’t stay awake with Jesus on the night of His betrayal and was twice found sleeping (Matthew 26:37-43).
Or the time he drew his sword in a moment of rage and sliced off Malchus’ ear, drawing yet another rebuke from Jesus (John 18:10-11).
It seemed like every time Peter opened his mouth or reacted to a situation, Jesus rebuked or corrected him. And those are only the events recorded in Scripture—no telling how many other times Peter put his foot in his mouth or made a fool of himself!
Do you think he ever second-guessed his decision to follow Jesus?
And then, of course, Peter’s biggest and most shameful mistake of all: denying Jesus three times on the night of the crucifixion, just like Jesus had foretold. After the third denial, the rooster crowed and Jesus looked straight at Peter (Luke 22:60-62). Do you think Peter ever forgot that moment? No wonder he broke down and wept bitterly—the shame and regret must have been overwhelming. It was surely the darkest day of Peter’s life.
Clearly, Peter was human. An imperfect, fallible, mistake-prone person, just like you and me.
But fortunately for him and fortunately for us, Peter’s story did not end there. Not only did Jesus rise from the dead, but something beautiful happened soon afterward:
In John 21, the last time Peter is mentioned in the Gospel accounts, the resurrected Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” (John 21:15-19). Then He gave Peter the exact same challenge He had given him at the beginning:
Follow me. | John 21:19
Isn’t that beautiful? Peter’s faith journey came full circle. Even after all of Peter’s mistakes, Jesus invited him to continue following Him.
Peter realized that his mistakes had not compromised the Lord’s love for him.
Friend, here’s the takeaway: God doesn’t expect you to be perfect. He knows that you will mess up and make mistakes every day. And that’s okay. Like Peter, we’re human, and God knows that.
What God wants is for you to follow Him. That’s what’s important. Through the ups and downs of life, through the good times and painful times, through the greatest joys and greatest sorrows, He wants us to keep on following Him.
Follow Him, dear brother. Follow Him, dear sister.
Wherever you are, whatever challenges you’re facing, follow Him.
He is calling out to you: