Is there anything wrong with having self-confidence? No, I think that some people really struggle through life with a lack of self-confidence. But I want to think about one man, a very important man in history and in the Bible, who I think we can call the self-confident one, but one that had some problems.
I’m talking about Simon Peter—and what an exciting guy this fellow was!
One of the interesting quotes I read was this one: “It’s better to be a follower who fails than one who fails to follow”. And this is in keeping with the person of Peter. He was a follower of Jesus who also failed at one time in the crucial hours leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. Despite his strength of character, he did fail at a crucial time. I’m calling Peter the self-confident one.
Nothing wrong with having self-confidence—provided it’s based on Jesus not on yourself. In the four gospels, Peter’s name keeps popping up—over and over again. No disciple speaks so often and so much as Peter. It seems that Jesus speaks to Peter more than any other of his disciples. Sometimes in blame, sometimes in praise. He had a big heart and a big mouth. Do you know people like that? Their very nature gets them into trouble.
Known as Simon Peter, the big fisherman, he is an outstanding figure in the Bible—larger than life. He is the first many to be called to follow Jesus, (Mark 1:17) and he was an obvious leader. That’s why Jesus chose him: for his leadership abilities. He was a real person with real qualities and strengths and weaknesses. But he loved Jesus having spent three years with him, enjoying the adventure. He had thrown his lot in with him, and burnt his bridges—see John 6:67-68. But he was impulsive—see Matthew 14:28-29; Matthew 17:4; John 21:7.
He was tender-hearted and affectionate by nature—Matthew 26:75—but he also could be self-seeking and selfish (Matthew 19:27). He was very perceptive about whom Jesus was and no doubt inspired the others on in their journey with the Master: Matthew 16:16; John 6:69. No doubt he was qualified to be called Peter, which means ‘the rock’.
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Jesus accepted Peter in spite of his failures, as he does us. He accepts us warts and all. Peter was too unpredictable and impetuous. He was well-meaning and wanted to do what was right, but sometimes he got things wrong. Here are just two instances:
- Matthew 16:21-23. Peter loved Jesus and rushed in to protect him. When Jesus spoke about his coming death, Peter took charge and pulled Jesus aside. He actually rebuked Jesus. Verse 22 in The Message says, “Peter took him in hand, protesting …” Jesus dealt sternly with this action and told him to get out of the way. He called him Satan—Peter was trying to short-circuit the plans of Jesus.
- John 18:1-10. Peter was ready to defend Jesus in the garden. A very brave act, if not a foolish one. About two hours before, Peter had said he was willing to die for Jesus. He meant it. Here was loyalty and courage—he could have been killed that night.
(Read Overconfident Simon Peter ─ Part 2)