josh longanecker life groups pastor at james river church
By: Josh Longanecker12/02/15

Under the Surface

There are some of you who look at your life and wonder if you were ever called to lead your Life Groups. Some of you think of the heart issues you fight every day and wonder if you could ever do anything great for God. We look at others who seem to have it all together and think those are the people God will use, not us. However, God looks past all our imperfections and sees the potential to change the world.

However, God looks past all our imperfections and sees the potential to change the world.

The Position

In the Gospels, there is an interesting storyline which often goes unnoticed, but I think has some major implications for us as leaders. Starting in the last supper, we begin to get a closer look at Peter and John. At the table, John was directly next to Jesus, and Peter was sitting next to John (John 13:23-25). When Jesus washed the disciple’s feet, only Peter refused (John 13:8).

The Prediction

When Jesus predicted all His disciples would abandon Him, Peter boldly proclaimed, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will! Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” Seeing what was in Peter’s heart, Jesus replied, “…you will deny three times that you even know me” (Mark 14:29-31). Meanwhile John faithfully stuck beside Jesus. He did not make any rash statements, he simply followed Jesus. After His arrest, we learn all Jesus’ disciples scattered (Mark 14:50), but John and Peter still follow Him as He was taken to the High Priest for questioning (John 18:15-16).

The Trial

During the trial, Peter was identified as one of Jesus’s followers. Three times he emphatically denied he ever knew Jesus, even calling a curse on himself if he was lying (Mark 14:71). As the rooster crowed, Jesus looked directly at Peter, and realizing his cowardice and betrayal, Peter ran away weeping bitterly (Luke 22:61-62). Meanwhile, John did not run away. He faithfully followed Jesus. At the cross, the only disciple who is recorded being there is John (John 19:26).

When we look at this, the natural conclusion is John was the better of the two. John was the one who should lead Jesus’ church after His ascension to the Father. While he was ever faithful, Peter was proud, impetuous, a coward, a liar, and most of all he denied Christ.

The Perspective

blue-telescope-lens-curves-largeHowever, the Lord doesn’t see things the way you and I do. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. Knowing all that was in Peter’s heart, Jesus looked under the surface and saw a man who had the capacity to launch the Church into the chronicles of history. After His resurrection, Jesus commissioned Peter to “…take care of my sheep” (John 21:16). When the church took off, it was Peter who the Holy Spirit inspired to preach (Acts 2). John was certainly a faithful leader in the church, but Peter was the catalyst and primary mover early in the book of Acts.

Step into the destiny God has already seen in you

God sees under the surface to who you really are. He has called you as a leader based on what He sees, not what you see. Stand in the grace God has given you, and lead with confidence knowing God has appointed you to lead your group, your family, and in your church. Step into the destiny God has already seen in you. It’s just under the surface.