I love to read the Gospels because I enjoy the interaction between Jesus and the disciples. Even though in ages they were more like peers, it is so evident in each interaction that Jesus loves them as a father loves his children.
There is affection and lessons, praise and correction woven into the pages, giving us example after example to follow.
Jesus loved them. He chose them and shared with them real relationships.
When I read the Gospels I am always aware of His affection for Peter. That bond that was forged helped Peter through some dark days as time went on and the things that Jesus poured into him allowed him to have that boldness to stand up on the Day of Pentecost and declare the plan what we must do.
During Jesus' ministry He had a plan for Peter.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
He put His trust in this man that had walked beside him.
But, if you continue to read on, just a few short verses later, you find this:
From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
From the rock that the First Church was going to be built on to being openly rebuked just a few words later.
What happened? Jesus corrected His child. Oh, I am sure he took much more pleasure in the praise than the correction He had to give. But, He still did it.
I was in the bathroom today at a restaurant and a young mother brought her toddler into a stall and swatted the baby on the fanny saying, "I told you that you can't do that!"
The toddler cried pitifully and then from there began to cry "Mama, Mama, Mama" as it obviously buried its face in Mama's legs.
Because, you see, even a toddler knows that Mama was correcting out of love.
I can remember hearing parents that would say before whipping their child, "This is going to hurt me more than you."
I always thought that was ludicrous because there was no way that was true.
Then I had children of my own and even though it does hurt to say no, to swat their bottoms and punish them, it would hurt even worse to see them go uncorrected.
I see those kids all the time along with their bewildered parents who cannot figure out why they get no respect from their little angels.
And I see my own children as adults who have direction and have worked hard to reach their potential and I don't not regret those tears I shed when "no" cut my heart, when their pain was nothing in comparison to my own at having to remain firm and stand my ground even when it would have been easier to turn the other cheek.
Thank You, Lord for your example to me throughout the pages of Your Word. You left me a road map to follow, and one that I can pass to my family. How blessed we are to know that if we follow where You lead us, even when it's not comfortable or popular, we will find You there, waiting to wipe away all the pain and sorrow we encounter along the way. I love You too much to fail You now!