Hope for the loud-mouth

Matthew 16:13-20

I bet you gave your mama fits, Peter. 

I’m guessing from the very beginning

you were all action, movement and words

responding to the impulse of the moment. 

Passionate Peter, feeling everything so deeply and immediately, 

I bet people wondered what to do with you. 

I bet you wondered yourself. 

You lived your whole life like that night on the boat,

flinging yourself into the sea, full of faith and fire, 

only to gasp and flounder, fear pulling you under. 

Such a man of extremes, blundering around like that.

Asking, asking. So many questions.

Proclaiming Christ the Messiah, so boldly!

Then, in the next breath, rebuking Him—

and receiving rebuke in return.

Chosen to go up the mount of transfiguration,

then blubbering about tents,

until you are silenced by the very voice of God. 

Refusing to let Him wash your feet,

then, chastened, begging Him to wash all of you.

Hotly proclaiming your faithfulness till death,

then sleeping in the garden when He needed you most.

Rising up, cutting off a man’s ear, defending your Lord,

then fleeing, running terrified into the night,

only to follow in secret, still faithful,

until those people press you, 

and you– 

deny Him. 

Abandon Him.

Words that leave you weeping bitter 

and alone.

It seems that each of your triumphs

is marked by a greater failure. 

It seems that for all your bold promises,

in the end you are marked by cowardice.


Three days later you are

running, running to the tomb, 

flying into the dark mouth,

holding the empty cloth.

Later, after fishing all night in desperation,

you see Him far off on the shore, 

and of course you have to.

Plunge off that boat right into the sea, 

headed to Jesus.

I’m guessing no one knew what to do with you, 

This loud-mouthed, brassy kid, 

Rising and falling like the waves of the sea.

But Jesus called you the rock. 

Before you even did most of the stupid things,

He called you, commissioned you, 

gave you the very keys of the kingdom. 

And all regrets, 

all those messy failures,

they brought you down, all right.

Without them, how would you have ever known

the depth of your need? How would you have ever

slowed down enough to receive Him?

Jesus knew exactly what to do with you. 

He knew that no one but you

could lead the way out into the world

with His story. 

One thought on “Hope for the loud-mouth

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