Greetings MOL Family!
Welcome to our final study on the life and experience of Peter. We pray that, even in these last few weeks, you have been seeking to implement the principles learned into your own personal experience. So that, “when thou art converted”, you too may take part in strengthening thy brethren…
Come & Dine
Now we’ll go to John 21:12. We looked at this in a previous lesson. But I want to look at it again, for it has our special word in it. This is that morning on the Sea of Galilee, after the resurrection, when Peter and a number of his brethren had been fishing all night and caught nothing. In this early morning, they see this lone Watcher on the beach. They finally discern that it’s Jesus. And in the 12th verse we hear His call to breakfast:
Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. – John 21:12
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing to get an invitation from Jesus to eat with Him? Do we have it?
Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. – Revelation 19:9
Think of it! When He gave the disciples the bread and wine at that supper in the upper room, He said, “I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” He’s counting the days, longing for the hour when we’ll sit down with Him in the kingdom of God. “Come and dine.”
Day by day we may eat with Jesus. Day by day He invites us to eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood. Day by day He is saying to us, “Come and dine.” In His Word, in the volumes of the Spirit of Prophecy, He has provided for us a rich repast, a wonderful menu. Of every tree in this garden we may freely eat. There’s plenty, enough, and to spare. “Come and dine. Come and eat with Me. Come and share at the table of the Lord.”
Crucified With Christ
Now, I want to hasten on to the end of the life of Peter. You notice here in John 21:18-19, Jesus talking directly to Peter says:
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He saith unto him, Follow Me. – John 21:18-19
This was foretelling Peter’s death by crucifixion. Years later, near the end of his life, Peter referred to this. Let’s turn over to 2 Peter 1:14. We’ll read the thirteenth verse with it. Peter is writing his last letter:
Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. – 2 Peter 1:14
As I was reading of this I thought, just think of it, all through Peter’s life, he knew how he was going to die. From that morning when he walked with Jesus down the beach at Galilee, and Christ told him how he was going to be crucified, all through those years of ministry, he knew that ahead of him was a cross.
How would you like to know that? Just think of it. You know death by crucifixion was a most cruel death, a torture. Hours of anguish and agony and pain. And every day that Peter ministered, he knew that he was one day nearer that fate.
Thank God, friends, it did not cast a gloom over his soul, no shadow rested on that loving heart. In fact, we’re told that when it came to the hour, to him it seemed such an honor, such a privilege, to die as his Master had died that he made one request of his guards and it was granted. He was crucified with his head downward, instead of upward.
In this death by crucifixion, it seems to me that Peter must have heard the Master saying – the One who had said, “Come and see,” Come and rest,” Come and walk,” Come and dine” – now He is saying, “Come and die with Me. Die with Me, the death that I died.” Peter could say with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ.” In his last moments as he hung there on that cross, were moments of the closest fellowship with Jesus in suffering and death.
The Drawing Power of Jesus
Now, let’s turn to Matthew 25:34. There’s another “come” in the life of Peter, but it’s still future. He hasn’t heard this one yet, but he’s going to hear it:
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. – Matthew 25:34
Thank God, Peter is going to hear that, “Come.” And there’s something about it that’s especially rich for Peter. Turn to Matthew 19:27-28. This is after the rich young man had gone away sorrowful, and Jesus had told the disciples, “It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, but with God all things are possible.”
Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. – Matthew 19:27, 28
Oh, is Peter going to have a throne? Yes, he is. And the King of the universe is going to say to Peter, “Come, come, come. You listened to My ‘come’ at Jordan, and entered the service with Me. You heard My ‘come’ at the lake and left your boats and fishing nets. Again and again you heard that call, ‘come,’ and you came. Now, Peter, I’ve called you from the grave, and you have come. I’ve called you home to Heaven, and you’ve come. Now here’s your throne, Peter. You’re to reign as a prince over one of the tribes of Israel.”
And now it comes down to every one of us. Look:
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. – Matthew 19:29
Ah, isn’t it true, friends? That rich young man that had just gone away that day, how much he missed. He kept his gold, but he lost his God. He kept his fortune, but he lost his glorious opportunity. But oh, those disciples that had left their tax collecting, their fishing, and their other vocations, and had cast their lot with Jesus, who had heard His “come,” and followed, even in this life, as far as joy is concerned, they had a hundred fold. And in the world to come they would have everlasting life.
So it is with you and me, my friends. We may lose some things as we hear the Master say, “Come,” and respond. We may have to leave some things behind. But how much we get, even in this life. Would you trade? No, no, no, my friends.
But listen, to follow Jesus means that every day He’s saying, “Come,” and He’s leading us higher. And there’s no way to go higher without increasing the distance between you and the world. May I repeat that? There is no way to go higher without increasing the distance between you and the world. Even if the world were stationary that would be true. But ah, the world is going down in a terrible acceleration, isn’t it? It’s going down, down, down. But Jesus is calling us up, up, up. So with the world going down, and the call of Jesus beckoning us up, the distance is increasing every day, farther and farther and farther.
You know the men who went to the moon? It took a tremendous amount of energy to break away from the gravitational pull of this planet, didn’t it? But there came a time, my dear friends, when they were far enough away from this planet and close enough to the moon, that the moon was pulling them stronger and faster than any earthly gravitation could do.
Oh, I want to get that close to Heaven. What do you say? I want to get far enough away from this world that the things of this world have no power over me. And every step we take nearer to Jesus decreases the pull of this world, and increases the drawing power of Jesus.
I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me. – John 12:32
Well, dear ones, where are you in the walk with Jesus, today? If you’ve never accepted Him, I hear His voice saying to you, “Come, come.” If you’ve begun the walk, it may be that [today] He is pointing out to you a new step to take, a new surrender to make. Do you hear His voice saying, “Come, come, come. Leave some things, take some things. Come closer to Me, with Me”?
Ah, it may lead to the cross as it did with Peter. It will, for it is written:
If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. – Matthew 16:24
But, oh, at the end, with Peter, we’ll hear those blessed words saying:
Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. – Matthew 25:34
Before this world was made, God looked and saw you and me. He planned for us personally. His great longing is that we may share with Him a fellowship closer than angels know. The only way we can do it is every time He says, “Come,” we respond and say, “Lord, I come.” This is what we sing in this song:
I will follow Thee, my Saviour,
Wheresoe’er my lot may be.
Where Thou goest I will follow;
Yes my Lord, I’ll follow Thee.
Oh, that every heart may be strong and prompt and full in its response, “Yes, My Lord, I will follow Thee.” No reserve, no quibbling, no holding back. Like Peter, impulsive, perhaps, but everything for Christ. When that impulsive response is tempered with a deep repentance, a deep conversion, it produces the apostle who, in the book of Acts, we see again and again being used by the Lord to do wonderful things.
God is training men and women today for His final Loud Cry work. And some of them, like Peter, will have faults that stick right out, just stick right out. And yet, as they hear Jesus call day after day, “come,” and they respond; even if they fall, they get up and go on. Didn’t Peter fall again and again? But thank God, every time he fell, he got up and went along. He heard that invitation of Jesus saying, “Come,” and he said, “Lord, I come.” Thank God, he finished triumphantly. You and I can do the same.
Do you hear the call of Jesus today to your heart saying, “Come”? Does it call you to a closer fellowship? Does it mean a deeper work of grace in your heart? Does it mean a more complete surrender? Does it mean leaving something that other people might think is all right for you to keep, but in your heart you know that Jesus is calling you? Is it a call, perhaps, to more unreserved commitment to the work of soul winning?
Whatever the call Jesus brings to your heart, whatever the “come” that is echoing from the lips of Christ and reaching your heart, oh, I hope you’ll say, “Lord, I will come. I do come. And I come right now.”
How many of us would like to send Him this word today, that we’re with Him to come all the way? Thank God, we’re together in it. What is your response?
That concludes the end of our study. See details (below) for the opportunity to get our ‘2020’ DVD series, for 50% off… Until next week – Maranatha!
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.