Jesus did some radical things during His earthly ministry. On one occasion, he visited a cemetery to confront a man possessed by demons. To make it interesting, he sent the demons into a herd of pigs grazing nearby. They immediately ran into the sea and drowned.
His decision to choose Peter as one of His leading men ranks up as another of his radical acts. Peter’s enthusiasm for the mission and teachings of Jesus was evident, but on more than one occasion, he acted without fully thinking things through. Here are some of the most notable impulsive acts by Peter:
Walking on Water (Matthew 14:28-31): Peter impulsively asked to join Him when he saw Jesus walking on the water. Soon after he stepped out of the boat, his logical thinking returned. He realized what he had done. Immediately, he started to sink. Thankfully, Jesus had a life-preserver on him.
The Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9): On another occasion, Jesus took Peter, James, and John to witness a magnificent event. He was going to visit Moses and Elijah—now that seems bizarre, but according to Matthew, Mark (9:2-8), and Luke (9:28-36), it did occur. After witnessing the Transfiguration, Peter impulsively suggested they should construct three cottages—one each for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. While his intent might have been worship, he did not understand the significance of what he had witnessed.
Drawing the Sword (John 18:10): When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter impulsively drew his sword and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his ear. Jesus rebuked him for this act of violence and healed the servant.
Professing Loyalty (Matthew 26:33-35): Peter passionately declared that he would never disown Jesus, even if everyone else did. Jesus, knowing better, predicted that Peter would deny Him three times that very night, which he did.
The Great Catch of Fish (John 21:7): After the resurrection, when the disciples were fishing and realized that the stranger on the shore was Jesus, Peter, in his usual impulsive manner, jumped into the water to get to Jesus rather than waiting for the boat to reach the beach.
"The transformation of impulsive followers of God into devout, authentic, and genuine individuals is a recurring theme in the Bible.
While Peter's impulsiveness sometimes led to misunderstandings or mistakes, it also showcased his genuine love and enthusiasm for Jesus. In one of his shining moments, when Jesus asked the disciples who they thought He was, Peter quickly responded, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”(Matthew 16:16 ESV). Jesus praised him for this revelation, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17 ESV).
The transformation of impulsive followers of God into devout, authentic, and genuine individuals is a recurring theme in the Bible. These stories are powerful examples of how God's grace and mercy can shape and mold people, turning their impulsive tendencies into qualities that reflect their deep faith and commitment to Him.
Paul, originally known as Saul, was zealously persecuting Christians before his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. His fervent religious beliefs drove his impulsive actions. After his conversion, he became a devoted apostle who authored a significant portion of the New Testament. His passion was redirected towards spreading the message of Christ.
King David displayed impulsive behavior in his youth. His impulsive actions sometimes led to mistakes, like his affair with Bathsheba. Yet, David's genuine repentance and devotion to God led to his transformation. He is celebrated in the scriptures for his heartfelt Psalms and deep relationship with God.
Thankfully, God's work in our lives goes beyond our initial shortcomings. He can use impulsiveness, doubts, and mistakes to teach important lessons, foster humility, and ultimately lead to a more authentic and genuine faith.
Do you have impulsive tendencies? Join me in praying this prayer:
Abba, I come before You with a heart burdened by my impulsive tendencies. I recognize that, at times, my actions and decisions have been hasty and lack self-control. I humbly seek Your presence and guidance as I navigate this challenge. Lord, You know the inner workings of my heart and mind. You understand the struggles I face and the moments when impulsiveness takes over. I ask for Your mercy and strength to overcome this weakness within me. Please help me to develop the self-awareness needed to recognize impulsive thoughts before they lead to rash actions. Please grant me the wisdom to discern between what is truly necessary and merely a result of momentary impulses. Fill me with patience and self-discipline so that I may pause before I act, seeking Your guidance in each decision I make. I know Your grace is sufficient for me, and Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. I lean on Your grace and ask for Your transformative power to reshape my tendencies and bring positive change. Thank You for hearing my prayer. Amen.