When we are at our lowest we need only the best. We need encouragement. But don’t they must have experience in their own failures to be able to meet our needs?
The Churches in the region of Galatia were experiencing great turmoil for their faith. They were discouraged and threatened. The life of a believer was hard in those times and very costly; not so much because of physical persecution, but mainly by social marginalization.
People who converted to Christianity were seen as those who were following “strange deities” and perhaps a new fad that was laughable at best in the minds of Roman citizens.
Some who were loyal to the Roman Empire would probably have seen them as those who teetered on the verge of self-harm because they called a dead Jewish man Lord and believed Him to be resurrected. Only Caesar was Lord to them! If Caesar were to be around to hear it, it would be near immediate call for death due to treason.
No matter what, there had to be hardship in following Christ, and they needed encouragement; they needed the wisdom of a friend.
Perfect friends have imperfect pasts
Enter Peter, the imperfect friend. One who called himself a “fellow elder” among the elders of the churches of the churches he wrote to. A man who , when Christ was on earth, had failed (Matthew 26:30-34) even after He was glorified (Galatians 2:11-12).
Peter was always the most outspoken, but with the cost of foot-in-mouth disease when he was with the twelve. Peter saw himself as the most devoted perhaps, but often made himself a lesson to the others of what over-extension looks like.
First one out of the boat, and the only one to begin sinking. (Matthew 14:30) The only one to say he would die for Christ, and the only one who would verbally deny him under the trial by little girl. (John 18:17)
He had an imperfect past, but that all played a role in what he would be in the future.
Perfect Friends Have A Perfect Savior
After Christ’s glorious resurrection, we see the disciples returning back to their profession of fishing. They come to the beach to work out the rest of their duties when they notice a man on the beach. This man calls them to cast their nets into the water once more and their catch was nearly too heavy to haul in.
When gathered around the fire for breakfast, Jesus takes the time to mend what was broken. Three times Peter denied Christ and now three times he reaffirms his love for Christ. But what is most remarkable is this:
Each time Peter reaffirms his love for Jesus, Jesus commands him to do one thing: feed and tend the sheep.
That’s what imperfect friends who have a perfect Savior do: they are humble beggars who have found bread that share it with other humble, weary beggars.
Peter would go on to write some of the most encouraging words in his epistles known as 1 Peter and 2 Peter. I would highly encourage you and commend to you the reading of his great words to weary and fearful Christians.