Focus – Disciples, soaking wet

Listen to this article

by Amanda Reardon, Captain – 

by Captain Amanda ReardonIt seems that so many people identify with Peter more strongly than any other disciple in the Bible. I guess part of the reason is that there are more stories about Peter than about any of the others. Knowing so much about him gives us an opportunity to see our traits mirrored in him.

And what elements of Peter’s character remind us most of ourselves? His glaring flaws! Poor Peter is famed for acting impulsively and speaking before thinking. But his delightfully impetuous nature (I do think he would be fun to know) surely benefited his effectiveness as an apostle. He charged through the book of Acts, healing, preaching, following angels out of prison. I suspect God constructed his personality so that he might some day do such great things without reservation. No man of repose would tackle the great commission as Peter did.

The positive side of this passionate character can be detected throughout the gospels. One of the most charming stories occurs in the last chapter of John. Jesus had appeared sporadically to the disciples since his resurrection. In this chapter, he appeared on the shore of the Sea of Tiberius, where some of the disciples, including Peter, were fishing. From a distance, Jesus instructed the disciples to recast their fishing net on the other side of the boat. Though they did not recognize Jesus, they did as he suggested, and their previously empty nets were now full. “The disciple whom Jesus loved” (John) turned to Peter and said, “It is the Lord!” Upon this revelation, Peter threw his “outer garment” on and jumped into the water, moving toward the shore in the quickest way he could. The others weren’t far behind, still in the boat. But Peter couldn’t wait for the boat to dock. He had to get to Jesus.

A friend recently remarked to me that she could envision Peter running up to Jesus, soaking wet, and wrapping his arms around him. “Just like a child,” she said. Convention didn’t matter. Protocol—who cared? Even common sense was suspended for the moment, for Peter did not stop to consider whether he should assist with the boat, or whether Jesus would want to be enveloped by someone who was dripping wet. He couldn’t help himself. Later, in Acts 4, when Peter stands before the Sanhedrin, who are angry because he will not stop preaching the gospel, his theme is familiar: “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (italics mine).

Peter was impulsive. But can one doubt that the Lord took great pleasure in that? The Bible does not record Jesus’ response to the dripping disciple, but could it have been anything other than welcoming?

When I return home to my children after an out-of-town trip, they drop everything the moment I open the door and run to me. The two younger boys leap on me, causing me to lose my balance. They may even have been in the middle of eating a sandwich, resulting in the smearing of peanut butter across my jacket. My older son will come trotting down the stairs with his arms outstretched, to present me with a big squeeze and a kiss on the cheek. I love those moments—and I suspect Jesus loved it, too, when Peter came splashing toward him. Jesus said that we were to become like children to enter his kingdom. Peter showed us what that meant.

I suspect the Lord would prefer to have more soaking wet disciples than dry ones. Some of us peer over the edge of the boat, contemplating jumping in. We hesitate because we realize that if we do, we’ll be wet for hours. In other words, following hard after God may make us uncomfortable. Or we realize that others may expect us to help dock the boat—which is to say that following hard after God is not the expected social behavior. Or, what if the waters look choppy? What if we fear what may befall us if we leave the boat and plunge in? Look to Peter. So often the example of human shortcomings, here he is before us demonstrating the passion Christ desires to see in each of us.

I’ve known many soaking wet disciples in my life. They are the people who couldn’t stop themselves from following Christ even if they had wanted to. They are so in love with him, that they follow his lead despite whatever trappings threaten to hinder them. They look unblinkingly to him, and never set their eyes upon the seas around them. They are heroes to me.

The funny thing is, some of these heroes of mine do not have impetuous, Petrine personalities. Leaping out of boats would never have been their natural course of action. Until they fell in love with their Savior; then no boat could contain them.

If you want to be a soaking wet disciple, fall in love with your Lord. You’ll soon find yourself splashing with glee as you hasten to follow him.

On the Corner

On the Corner

Change by Robert Docter –  What’s it mean?



Body Builder by Terry Camsey, Major –  “The Army must be a 21st century

You May Also Like