Matthew 26:31-35, “Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And, so said all the disciples.”
Matthew 26:69-75, “Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.” And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” But again, he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So, he went out and wept bitterly.
The Simon Peter Paradox is one of the most important things that can happen to anybody, Christian or not. This experience brings you face to face with who you are. If you read the gospels one thing that you will notice about Peter is that he was quick to speak slow to think. He was an easy vessel to use for both God and the Devil. Matthew 16:16-17, “Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Then in Matthew 16: 22-23, “Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”” This happened in a space of minutes. We don’t know what his motivation was, but Paul best sums up Peter’s character in Romans 10:2, “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.”
The ‘Simon Peter’ paradox is when we deceive ourselves about who we truly are with what we think we are and then we have an experience that shows us who we truly are.
I for one have experienced this paradox and when the rubber met the road, I was found wanting. The mistake, I thank God for the Holy Spirit, I didn’t make was wallow in that state. Peter’s response after experiencing this was crucial to his ministry. He separated himself from everybody else and wept bitterly. I believe this is when the teachings of Jesus reached his heart, and now was ready to be a fisher of men.
The first encounter Peter had with Jesus after the resurrection was just as important as the experience itself. This is what set the foundations of Peter’s relationship with the risen Christ. The benefit of this paradox is that it makes you moldable. When Jesus met him, He loved him and molded him in the image of love.
John 21:16, “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of [f]Jonah, do you [g]love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.””
For the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to have an impact in our lives we must go through this experience. This experience brings us to the end of ourselves. It doesn’t have to be an extreme situation, but however it unfolds the result must be you coming face to face with who you are and recognizing that you need Jesus. Then Jesus, as a good shepherd, will come and restore you and build you up for the wonderful things He has in store for you.