Good Things Come in Threes — Just Ask Peter
by J. Randal Matheny
A. “Good things come in threes,” so they say. Peter had three opportunities to test this saying. While in the midst of these moments, he might have disagreed, but later would probably say amen to it.
B. Peter had three moments of threes: three denials of the Lord, three affirmations of his love for the Lord, and three refusals of the Lord’s vision.
C. These three moments were learning opportunities for Peter, in spite of the personal pain and confusion he experienced during them.
D. We can learn with Peter great lessons that the Lord wants to teach us as well.
1. In three denials of his Lord, Peter learned humiliation and confrontation (Luke 22:54-62).
A. Humiliation: His willpower not to deny the Lord was insufficient.
B. Confrontation: When Jesus looked at him, he learned the error of his national ambitions.
2. In three affirmations of love, Peter learned restoration, edification, and mortification (Acts 21:15-23).
A. Restoration: “Yes, Lord you know I love you.”
B. Edification: “Feed my sheep.”
C. Mortification: “You follow me” (v. 22).
1. Peter refused to consider Jesus’ death; now he must consider his own, for Jesus’ sake.
2. Discipleship meant following Jesus, without worry how the Lord would deal with others.
3. In three refusals of the vision, Peter learned proclamation to all peoples (Acts 10:9-23, 34-35; 11:4-18).
A. He reflected (10:17).
B. He went (10:23).
C. He preached (10:34ff).
D. He defended (11:1-4ff).
A. Like Peter stooping at the fire, we can learn that our own willpower isn’t enough to maintain our faithfulness–we need God’s power; and that our warped expectations of Jesus will lead us astray.
B. Like Peter reaffirming his love for Christ, we can learn that God wants our repentance and restoration; that he prepares service for us in his kingdom; that we need not worry how he will deal with other saints.
C. And like Peter’s three refusal’s of the vision, the Lord wants to open our eyes to the wonderful opportunities to preach the gospel to all peoples.
D. Moments of horrible failure, confusion and perplexity can provide powerful lessons that change our lives. Let’s welcome them and give thanks for them.
E. After all, good things come in threes.