Consider Peter, one of Jesus’s disciples. He truly believed the man Jesus to be the Son of God: “So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘You do not want to go away also, do you?’ Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.’” (John 6:67-69). Continuing through the gospel of John would provide additional insight to Peter’s loyalty and belief in Jesus, that is until Jesus is arrested in John 18. It is at this point that Peter sees his Lord be taken away by mere men. Peter has seen a multitude of miracles and healings from Jesus, and knows from his own experiences that He is so much incredibly more than a man. This does not make sense. How can this immensely powerful person blessed by God be taken away by a few men? Peter begins to doubt. We can only imagine the mental anguish he undergoes while trying to process what is happening, but before he can reach a conclusion people challenge him and his loyalty to Christ. This is done at three separate occasions throughout John 18:15-27, and each time in the midst of Peter’s frustration, he denies any connection to Christ. The other three gospels include the fact that after Peter’s third denial he just broke down and wept bitterly. In the eyes of Peter, Jesus was more than a good teacher, or the Son of God, but He was also Peter’s best friend. Peter forgot all of this in a moment of confusion, and was swept up by fear and anxiety, which lead him to distance himself from Christ. The next time Peter had a chance to see Him was when He was beaten and lead out of the city to be nailed and hung on a cross. The crowds were hurling insults and mocking Jesus, some of whom were saying: “if He saved others, then let Him save Himself if this is indeed the Christ!” (Mark 15:31 & Luke 23:35). Peter would easily be left feeling doubtful that Jesus was who He said He was, and the moment that Jesus died was the same moment that Peter’s heart and hope were crushed. He undoubtedly left that scene as a broken man. He had heard Jesus’s words, but because he did not believe them, Peter was left homeless and humiliated.
As we all know this is not the end of the story. Jesus returns to life in the flesh as He was resurrected three days after His death on the cross, and He visits Peter (along with over 500 other people). Along with Christ’s resurrection, so Peter is renewed with life and zeal for his Lord and friend. Everything he thought and believed in his moments of doubt were instantly wiped away at seeing the resurrected Christ, and all that remained was Peter’s faith in Jesus. He recollected himself, and after Christ ascended to heaven Peter was immensely bold with his faith. He did not waiver again on the fact that He knew and loved Jesus. This became evident to all who came into contact with Peter:
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.’
Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply.” (Acts 4:8-14)
Peter repositioned himself and his life, and he made his foundation to be the words of Jesus Christ. He was solid, and no matter what storm hit him he remained standing strong in his faith. He truly lived up to the words of Jesus when He told Peter: “I also say to you that you are Peter (literally translated “rock”), and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). Before Christ’s death, Peter had a belief as to what Jesus was to be as God. To see God arrested, tortured, and die does not fit any person’s belief or definition of any type of god. Peter had an impression as to who Christ should be, and that impression was put to death on the cross. Afterwards, when Jesus came back, Peter finally saw Him for who He truly is.
Our misconceptions of God were put to death with Christ, and the grace and truth of Christ was finally revealed to the world as He returned from the dead. Anyone who relies on the truth of the risen Christ is one who is “always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Cor. 4:10). We have been given this truth, and…
“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:14-16)
Children, despite being sweet and innocent, are the most easily tricked and manipulated to the wills and whims of others. Any reasonable company or corporation makes top priority in marketing towards children simply for that very reason. Or to take a more morbid look, the immense number of children brought into wars. They end up serving the needs of horrible leaders through various control tactics of fear, brainwashing, or just by simple lies. Children have the least amount of exposure in the world to know what is right and wrong, and they just do not have a solid footing on any sort of truth. It is truly tragic to see the manipulation and puppeteering of children happen in our world, but this can happen to any person on this planet that does not have a solid foundation in truth, or a firm grip on reality. Paul writes to Ephesus telling them to grow up and be mature, rational adults. That is, wise men who build their houses on the rocks. Those who take the truth given to them and use it to love and build up others. In building others up, there is a focus and direction, namely towards the one who gave us the truth in love in the first place, Jesus Christ.