Greg's Blog

How to Be Part of God’s Family

by Greg Laurie on Sep 2, 2022

Not long ago I watched an old movie called “The Dirty Dozen.” Lee Marvin stars as Major John Reisman, who recruited a group of prisoners for a special mission. Some of the men had been condemned to death, while others were serving life sentences.

So, they were nicknamed “the dirty dozen.”

I wouldn’t call Jesus’ 12 apostles “the dirty dozen,” but I might call them questionable hires. They were very ordinary individuals, but Jesus hand selected each one. And they could not be more different from each other.

Peter and Jesus

Mark’s Gospel tells us, “Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles… These are the twelve he chose: Simon (whom he named Peter), James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon (the zealot), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him)” (Mark 3:14-19 NLT).

At the top of the list we find a very familiar name: Simon Peter. Apart from Jesus, no other name is mentioned in the New Testament more than Simon Peter. He was a central figure in Jesus’ ministry and also in the early church. Jesus spent more time with Simon Peter than anyone else, and no other person spoke as often (or was spoken to as often) as Simon Peter.

Also, no other disciple was reproved and corrected as often as Simon Peter was. What distinguished Simon Peter from the others is that he simply said whatever he was thinking. You always knew you where you stood with the fisherman. I think he always meant well; he just didn’t think things through.

Peter was sort of like that lovable, loud uncle at a family reunion who tells great stories and entertains everyone. On one occasion he made this amazing statement to Jesus: “‘We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?'” (Matthew 19:27 NLT). Peter thought it, so he decided he might as well say it.

On another occasion, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up a mountain, where He was transfigured. And while Jesus was shining like the sun, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Him. This is what you would call a holy moment.

Meanwhile, Peter thought he should say something. So he blurted out, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Matthew 17:4 NLT).

Mark’s Gospel gives us an additional detail, “He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified” (9:6 NLT). I almost wonder whether Moses turned to Jesus at that moment and said, “Who was that guy? Is he with you?”

There was a time when Jesus revealed to Peter that he would be martyred for his faith. But Peter immediately pivoted to John and said, “‘What about him, Lord?;” (John 21:21 NLT). In other words, “I’m going to be martyred? I’m not sure that I’m really excited about that. What about him?”

Jesus gave an amazing response to Peter’s question. He said, “‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me'” (verse 22 NLT).

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