Do you ever think about sharing the gospel and break out in a nervous sweat, knowing you’ll just mess it up?  Do you read where Jesus said “you will do even greater works” than he did, and feel totally inadequate?  Do you ever think about all things you should be doing for the Kingdom and feel like a total failure?

Well today, we’re going to encourage you with a study of someone who maybe felt the same, and he was often messing up. But because he loved the Lord, God was able to use him mightily.  After all, it really is true that “God doesn’t call the qualified – He qualifies the called.”  So here today with a lesson called “Defining Greatness:  A Model Found in the Life of Peter” is teacher and author of the author of the book, Broken Yet Blessed, Kathi McCarty.


Table Talk Notes

Peter: an early life marked by failings.

Peter’s choices were often marked by hasty, emotional and immature responses to life.


Mark 14:29 – Boasts of loyalty & courage | Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.”

Mark 8:33 | “…for your mind is set on man’s interests, not God’s…”

In John 18:10, Peter cuts off soldier’s ear.

Mark 14:66-72 – Denies Jesus 3 times | And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”

John 21:2-3 | Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

  • Peter goes “back to fishing” (Matt 28: 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”)
  • What changed?
  • Mark 14:72 – “…he began to weep”


John 21:15-18 | After breakfast, Yeshua said to Shim‘on Kefa, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, do you love me more than these?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I’m your friend.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, do you love me?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I’m your friend.” He said to him, “Shepherd my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, are you my friend?” Shim‘on was hurt that he questioned him a third time: “Are you my friend?” So he replied, “Lord, you know everything! You know I’m your friend!” Yeshua said to him, “Feed my sheep! Yes, indeed! I tell you, when you were younger, you put on your clothes and went where you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (Complete Jewish Bible)


Peter has encounter with the Resurrected Jesus

Repentance is always the first step toward moving away from our failings and  back into the righteousness of Christ & the greatness God has for us.


A “new” attitude

Acts 1:14 | These all with one mind… devoting themselves to prayer.

Acts 2:1 | …they were all together in one place…


The first expression of  NT “church”

  • Ephesians 4:3&4a “…diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…there is one body and one Spirit…”
  • A profound event…
  • Acts 2:2, 4 “…there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind…And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began speaking w/other tongues…”
  • James 3: 6, 8 “And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity…but no one (person) can tame the tongue…”


The Holy Spirit got “hold” of Peter’s tongue

Peter becomes empowered!

Acts 2:14 | “But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice & declared…”

  • Peter is singled out by Jesus, yet stands with his brothers
  • Pride has been abated
  • We are many members of ONE body
  • No one member is greater than another, but servant of all


Captured by the Word!

Acts 2:17+ | A simple fisherman declares the fulfillment of the Word of God

Peter now knows (gnosco) that “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matt 16:16). To know who Christ is in us is to also know who we are in Christ! That knowledge empowers.


Sharing the Good News

Acts 2:37-41 | “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart…what shall we do? And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”


Peter evangelized his “sphere of influence”

2 Tim 4:2 | …preach the word; be ready in season & out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with great patience and instruction.


Doing the Word (works) of God

Acts 3:6 | Silver and gold I do not possess, but what I do have I give… in the name of J.C. – walk!

  • We have been given the Holy Spirit
  • We have been given authority
  • We have been given gifts & talents



The challenge

Am I willing to line up with the Word of God, and be empowered by the Holy Spirit, especially if it means there will need to be a shift in attitudes and behaviors?


The encouragement

Hosea 2:14-15 | “ (because I love her) I will draw her to myself and speak tenderly to her heart, and make the valley of her Troubling to be a door of hope and expectation.”

The ways in which we failed and are troubled are opportunities for hope and expectation! Click To Tweet

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 | For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”