The Holy Spirit’s Work in Transforming Peter

We are meditating on the drama the night before the crucifixion of Christ, and especially God’s work in Peter to prepare him to be strong in faith and trust in Christ. He had to be broken of his own strong will. When we are confident that we have it all together, we are vulnerable to attack by our enemy, Satan. Paul wrote about this when he said, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Peter would be a leader and a model to those around him, so God had to deal with his overconfidence by putting him through a trial, i.e. a test that would strengthen him when he was restored to dependence on Christ. After walking with Christ for more than forty years now, I have found that God is at work in our lives (Philippians 2:13) to transform us and make us more like Himself. Paul talks about this process as something that starts slowly and increases with time as we are obedient to the Spirit of God. As this happens, we reflect His glory, and our lives have a transforming effect on those around us as well.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The Greek word metamorphoō is the word that is translated with our English word “transformed.”  It means “a change of place, condition or form. To transform, transmute, to alter fundamentally. Used of spiritual transformation, it is an invisible process in Christians. This change takes place during our lives in this age.”[1] This is the ongoing training that Peter was still experiencing even just before the crucifixion. Henry Ward Beecher put it this way: “Happiness is not the end of life; character is.” Once we become Christians, God is at work in our lives to make us into people of character, and our character is measured by our responses to life’s trials and difficulties. God is determined that Peter will be fruitful, not in his abilities but totally reliant on His Lord. It is the same with all of us who follow Christ. D.L. Moody once said, “Character is what a man is in the dark.” What kind of things is God using in your life this day?  Do you see any testing and revealing of your character?

Peter was likely scared. He had no way of knowing if these were his last hours. He displayed great courage to even be in the courtyard of the high priest, but surely there were questions in his mind as to why Jesus had allowed himself to be arrested. He had witnessed the power of Christ when all the Roman soldiers in Gethsemane had been put on their backs at just a few simple words of Christ. Why didn’t Christ run? When John and Peter followed Jesus to the palace of the high priest, Peter, perhaps, thought that maybe he could be a witness for Christ at any trial that would take place.

Now, at the high priest’s palace, Jesus was taken first to the residence of Annas, who began to question Christ, hoping to get something from Him, i.e. to find some charge with which to accuse Christ at the trial before the Sanhedrin, the ruling seventy elders, as soon as it was light. The law said that there could not be less than twenty-three members of the Sanhedrin to try a capital case, and Annas knew that his son-in-law Caiaphas was rounding up that number to hold the court proceedings. It was also against the law to try a person while it was yet dark. The whole arrest and court proceedings of Jesus was a travesty of the justice system, but God had allowed His Son to go through such things in order to show us that He can sympathize with us in all the injustice that the believer in Christ will go through, and yet not retaliate. The test for Peter, though, was just ahead when he was asked to testify to his knowing of Christ. I pray that you, also, will stand the test.

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. To view, click here. Click on study 61, Peter, the Broken Disciple (Luke 22:54-62). Keith Thomas

[1] Key Word Study Bible, AMG Publishers, 3565 Metamorphoō, page 1651.