Lesson Three- Foot In Mouth Syndrome

Lesson Three- Foot In Mouth Syndrome

Welcome back class. I hope you spent time this week dealing with God. I hope you realized how Peter was not that different from you and me. He was an average man who had a heart for God. God blessed Simon Peter’s heart. Today we are going to be a little more critical on Peter, especially concerning the things that Peter says. Peter had a tendency to speak without thinking. I have been guilty of this, myself. So we will look at some of the instances where this happens in the Gospels.

The First passage we will be looking at is Mat. 17:1-13: Six days later Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and *led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.” And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone. As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.” And His disciples asked Him, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” And He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.

(Mat 17:1-13 NASB)

Peter, I am sure, was well-intended; he was full of good-will. But his zeal overpowered his discernment. Peter was excited! He speaks first and for the other disciples when he says, “it is good for us to be here.” Peter was enjoying the company of Moses and Elijah. Then out of his sanguine temperament, he speaks without first thinking. “, I will make three tabernacles” (one for Jesus, another for Moses, and another for Elijah.)

God himself responds to Peter’s comment! Think in your own life, have you ever heard a response directly from God? (If you have, I would love to hear about it.) Peter shows his ignorance despite his loyalty and willingness to serve, gets this one wrong. God, himself comes in the form of a bright, overshadowing cloud and in a loud voice to correct Peter’s doctrine.

John Henry points out that this bright cloud is different from the dark clouds God would dwell in during the Deuteronomic history24, when was displaying judgment upon his people. Instead this bright cloud reflects light, love, and liberty. God is proud of His Son, Jesus, who is light, life, love, and liberty.

Anyone want to explain to me first off what Peter gets wrong and second how or why Peter gets it wrong? (we have scratched the surface a little bit here.) Right, good job ______, Peter is wrong in putting two men upon the same foot with Christ25. God himself vindicated the rights of His Son. Peter was excited and ignorant, correct. Peter did not think before he spoke.

Peter had a habit of doing this. He spoke up before the other disciples; many times he spoke for the others. Sometimes he got things correct, but other times he gets it wrong.

Let’s go back to the Mat. 16:13-23 passage we spent the past few weeks in:

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

(Mat 16:13-23 NASB)

Jesus addresses all the disciples with a question, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon responds, while the others sit there confused. Simon gets the initial question correct, ‘You are the Christ, Son of the Living God!” but just a few verses later Jesus rebukes Peter saying, “”Get behind Me, Satan!” Peter holds divine knowledge in verse 16, then in verse 22, he is full of Satan’s lies! Poor Peter!

When he says, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” We see that he gets a bad case of foot-in the mouth. I cannot even imagine how Peter would have felt…his friend, leader, and Messiah had just cast Satan out of him. In this particular scenario we see similar features in comparison to the transfiguration scene. Peter gets excited. Peter is ignorant, yet loyal and obedient. Peter loves Jesus and does not want to see him die. He misses the point. He misses the significance of Christ’s death. In both cases, Peter is corrected by God himself (this time in the form of Jesus.)

It is interesting that Peter boldly confronts Jesus right after being praised by him. As Henry points out perhaps Peter was a little prideful or elevated after being praised by Christ, therefore he was bolder26. And Jesus saw this and wanted to keep Peter humble. Having Satan casted out of someone, is quite a humbling experience.

Discussion time:

What do you think Jesus means by “Satan”? Do you think he means that Peter is his enemy, literary Satan is in Peter, or something else? – Good response. I think Wesley really hit home for me, he says that Peter was acting the very part of Satan by endeavoring to hinder the redemption of mankind. (Whether or not Peter knew that or not is unimportant.) Jesus was pricking the pride from Peter’s puffed up heart.27

Does Jesus reproof other disciples the same manner, sharpness we see him reproofing Peter? If so where? – Good. that is an interesting moment of discipleship, sure, but I don’t think it compares to this moment. This is the sharpest reproof we see to any of his apostles at any time.

Have you recently had a case of foot-in-the mouth as Peter does? -Thanks for sharing.

Before we close this lesson we will examine one more major passage. Turn to John 21:20-25 . Peter turned around and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. (This was the disciple, who had leaned back against Jesus’ chest at the meal and asked, “Lord, who is the one who is going to betray you?”) So when Peter saw him, he asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to live until I come back, what concern is that of yours? You follow me!” So the saying circulated among the brothers and sisters that this disciple was not going to die. But Jesus did not say to him that he was not going to die, but rather, “If I want him to live until I come back, what concern is that of yours?”

(John 21:20-23 NET.)

Last time we visited this chapter, we saw the amazing Grace of God through Jesus restoring his relationship with Simon Peter. Peter has just been restored, proclaiming that he does love Jesus and now has been challenged by Jesus to “Follow me” and “Feed my sheep.”

I want to examine this last part of the book of John for a couple of reasons. First we see how Peter is beginning to think in a more mature way. Second because we see one key life lesson from Peter. And thirdly this passage has some controversy attached to it.

There a few different theories about this particular passage28. Is Peter jealous of John, “the beloved disciple?” Is Peter having another foot-in-mouth moment by asking “What about him?” Do you love him more? Is he your favorite? Or is Peter genuinely concerned about what will happen to John? Jesus had just told Peter how he will die. Is Peter asking, “What about him?” How will he die? Or maybe Peter is still ignorant and thinking that John will be the one who will betray Jesus. “What about him?” Is he the one who will betray you? The latter theory is further by some scholars due to the fact that John was the only disciple not martyred.

They were good friends and both really close to Jesus. Maybe Peter simply cared about John. I personally think that How is he going to die? theory fits best. If this is the case, then we also see a new maturity level in Peter. He is slowly learning to think before saying something stupid. Nevertheless, if Peter hadn’t learned anything all this time around Jesus and this is a case of foot-in-the-mouth, we have an advantage to learn from him. Assuming that Peter is jealous and maybe even asking Jesus, what about him, is he your favorite? Let’s listen to what Jesus says, “what is that to you?” Do not be concerned about this!

The more I read the verses, the more I lean towards the second theory, because the full context of what Jesus says speaks to John “remaining.” Jesus says, “”If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?” The Greek word for remain is menō29; = continue, remain, abide….to continue living!

Study Questions/Homework:

Read Mark 14:27-31,66-72

How is this passage different from the ones in this lesson?

Does the fact that Peter’s behavior is predicted by Jesus make it less of a “foot-in-mouth” episode?

Read Jn 13: 1-17 – Wesley says this about what Peter says in verse nine: “How fain would man be wiser than God! Yet this was well meant, though ignorant earnestness.30”

Do you see the similarities when we compare this passage to the other times Peter speaks without thinking? He has passion and zeal. He is obedient, but he is ignorant.

A principle from an anonymous but somewhat famous quote, I take from Peter in this lesson: “A closed mouth gathers no feet.”

3 thoughts on “Lesson Three- Foot In Mouth Syndrome

  1. bk says:

    You wrote: Is Peter jealous of John, “the beloved disciple?” Is Peter having another foot-in-mouth moment by asking “What about him?” … Or is Peter genuinely concerned about what will happen to John? … Or maybe Peter is still ignorant and thinking that John will be the one who will betray Jesus. … Maybe Peter simply cared about John.Before pointing the finger of foot-in-mouth blame at Peter you many want to remove the beam from your own eye first, for you do err in that ye know not the scriptures. The Bible says what it says, nevertheless many have been led to believe a variety of unbiblical ideas by those who have chosen to follow those who add to the Bible ideas that it does not teach and you have clearly been a victim in this regard given the unbiblical assumption you make in your statements here.“Prove all things” is a Biblical admonition that Bible students need to take seriously. There are many things that people think are Biblical that don’t appear in the Bible; but if we love the truth, then when we find that something we’ve told or taught doesn’t is not Biblical then that error needs to be rejected. Sadly there is often little willingness to submit to the word of God and to much willingness among those who claim the name ‘Christian’ to turn-a-blind-eye to the Biblical admonition “prove all things” when then text of scripture happens to disprove some tradition of men that they choose to follow. For example, consider the NON-Bible source based, man-made tradition that promotes the idea that the unnamed “other disciple, whom Jesus loved” was John. The truth is there is not a single verse in scripture that would justify teaching the idea that John was the unnamed “other disciple whom Jesus loved” and yet most simply <>assume that this man-made tradition cannot be wrong<> and then interpret scripture to fit this idea. The facts recorded in the plain text of scripture prove that this unbiblical tradition is false but many will nonetheless continue to promote this idea even after being made aware of the Biblical evidence.In order to sell this unbiblical idea it is claimed that John is referred to in the five passages that in fact never mention him but that rather talk only about the anonymous one whom “Jesus loved” — but this is easily shown to be the logical fallacy called circular reasoning. This idea comes from NON-Bible sources and is imposed upon the text, when the text says nothing of the kind. In fact we see a stark contrast between the BEHAVIOR of John who repeatedly identifies himself by name in the Book of Revelation and the BEHAVIOR of the unnamed “other disciple, whom Jesus loved” who went to great lengths to conceal his identity in the fourth gospel.If one will heed Ps. 118:8 then the NON-BIBLE sources on which this man-made error is based will give way to <>the facts in scripture which prove that WHOEVER this anonymous author was he most certainly was not John<>.   It can hardly be honoring to God for one to present an idea AS IF IT WERE BIBLICAL if they cannot cite a single verse that would justify teaching that idea — but those who promote the unbiblical tradition that the “other disciple whom Jesus loved” was John do just that. We’re told, “[It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man”. Given this explicit statement (along with similar statements in scripture on this matter) it is clear that one should be leery of those who encourage people trust in NON-Bible sources and put their confidence in unbiblical man-made traditions. To show respect for the word of God we need to heed the Biblical admonition to “prove all things” – and not simply be repeating the ideas of men but rather looking to scripture and searching the scriptures to see if what we have read or have been told can stand up to Biblical scrutiny. Defenders of the John tradition can choose to ignore the facts stated in the plain text of scripture if they prefer to quote the words of men who quote other men who quote other men but one thing that neither they nor their NON-Bible sources cannot do is cite even a single verse that would justify this idea. No one ever has — not those who originated this unbiblical idea and not those who still promote that idea today.

  2. Thanks bk for your comment. I appreciate the feedback and critique. I also do understand where you are coming from in your argument. There is a lot of debate as to who was the “beloved disciple.” Maybe it was wrong for me to make such an assumption in this post without explanation. Thanks for your concern and desire to “prove all things.” I appreciate that attitude. First though, you might be surprised what “us bible students” are learning. We all are studying these exact issues for ourselves and we are to come to our own conclusions after evaluating the data and searching Scriptures ourselves, not just by being told what our professor thinks. Believe me! The Beloved disciple: We know that beloved was at the Last Supper (John 13:23) and that at this meal only the 12 were invited to take part in this meal (Mark 14:17). So the beloved is someone of the 12. The beloved is clearly not Peter, for these two are distinguished quite clearly from each other in John 13, 20, and 21. Nor is it likely that the beloved is one of the other disciples named in John in John 13-16. In Chapter 21, the beloved goes fishing with six other disciples. Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, the two sons of Zebedee (James or John) and two unnamed disciples are fishing. The beloved is one of the unnamed or one of the brothers. It is unlikely that the beloved is James, because James is the first to be martyred. So the rumor about not dying seems more likely that John is speaking and not James. I believe that John is the beloved disciple. Not simply because of other man’s words. I have studied it and this is the best conclusion from the actual Bible text. It is the most natural and simplest reading of the Word of God. The reason John does not mention his name is because he did not feel it necessary or important to distinguish himself. Sure there are other possibilities: It could be one of the unnamed disciples. But logically speaking this is a hopeless, fruitless, worrisome expedient that stands against evidence. It could be Lazarus, “the young rich man,” the owner of the upper room, or John Mark. But all of these ideas that others have suggested are really exactly what you are saying- these ideas are not conclusive. These ideas are man’s own ideas. When it comes down to it. What you are saying is exactly right we need to base more on the internal evidence from within the bible itself. And the internal evidence from the Bible is very strong pointing towards John son of Zebedee. I have a lot more internal evidence from the Bible but do not feel like exhausting all this evidence here in a comment. Secondly, whomever this beloved disciple is, the lesson on foot and mouth continues and should continue. We can still learn from Peter’s behavior. It is not in no way blame Simon Peter and feel better about ourselves. God has Peter’s mistakes in the Bible for good reasons. We should learn from them out of the WORD OF GOD. You can look at the beams in other scholars eyes, but the truth is still in the Word of God and we can learn from Peter. Again thanks for your comment and your desire to “prove all things” according to the Word. For the most part, that is what “us Bible students” are out to do. There are many issues within the Bible where there could be more than one possible solution. The Bible does not lay out all the details and we are left with some room for interpretation. Certainly some people take this “room for interpretation” to mean that the Bible can mean anything, but that is not the case.

  3. bk says:

    The Bible says what it says and those who love the truth will pay attention to the words of scripture and conform their beliefs to what it says — not the other way around.You wrote: <>we are to come to our own conclusions after evaluating the data and searching Scriptures ourselves<>Great! Doing so, of course, honors Ps. 118:8 in that it encourages trust in the Lord rather than confidence in man — as scripture urges us. But your claim then leads then to two obvious questions: (1) if you did this on the John question, then why would you present the John idea as if it was Biblical given that you cannot quote a single verse that would justify promoting this idea? (For if you had such a verse you surely would have quoted it already.) Moreover, (2) given that you cannot cite a single verse that would justify believing the idea that John was the unnamed “other disciple, whom Jesus loved”, how is it that in “evaluating the data and searching the Scriptures” on this idea you never noticed that the facts recorded in the plain text of scripture prove that WHOEVER the one whom “Jesus loved” was he could not possibly have been John — because the Bible evidence proves otherwise?You say: <>I have a lot more internal evidence from the Bible…<> But if so, then why can’t you quote a single verse of scripture that would justify promoting the John idea? You can’t because this idea is unbiblical. It comes from NON-Bible sources and is imposed on the text by those who put their confidence in the traditions of men and turn-a-blind-eye to the STATEMENTS OF SCRIPTURE that prove that this person could not have been John. Saying that one has Bible evidence for this-or-that is one thing; but ACTUALLY QUOTING IT is another. The free study at the-beloved-disciple.com ACTUALLY QUOTES THE BIBLE VERSES that prove that this unnamed “other disciple” could not possibly have been John. If there is a man in jail who has been convicted of a crime and we later find evidence that prove we’ve identified the wrong man, then we let him go. We don’t keep him in jail until we find out who did do it. Likewise, if Bible evidence can prove that John was not the “other disciple, whom Jesus loved”, (and it can) then we need to admit our mistake and let go of this erroneous tradition whether or not we can identify the actual author. The idea that the beloved disciple was John <>does not come <>from<><> the word of God (i.e. the actual content produced by God’s inspired authors) it has been added to it. There is not a single verse that would justify teaching that the “other disciple, whom Jesus loved” was John, which is why those who promote this man-made tradition ultimately end up pointing to some non-Bible source(s) in their attempts to defend this unbiblical tradition.  In fact this tradition is the result of relying on non-Bible sources (the selected statements of this-or-that person) and presuming that those non-Bible sources do not need scripture to justify the statements that they made. No non-Bible source offers any Biblical evidence that would justify teaching the John idea yet many will say that this idea cannot be wrong simply because it has been around for a long time – clearly faulty logic. Consider this: if we have the complete word of God, then no one has ever had more of the word of God than we have. Not in the second or third century ‘early church’, not ever. Therefore what is true today was also true then, which is why no one has ever offered Biblical evidence to prove that the beloved disciple was John. This tradition is simply repeated without Biblical justification while Biblical evidence to the contrary is ignored. The label <>The Gospel of John was <>added to<> scripture<> (by men who assumed this was the Apostle John) and since the content of the Bible – the actual words of the God inspired authors thereof – can show the John idea is not true, then those who believe in the inspired word of God certainly have a compelling reason to cease promoting the false idea that that the one whom “Jesus loved” was John. While it will surely mean having to endure scornful looks from those who won’t be swayed by the Biblical evidence on this question, <>rejecting the unbiblical man-made John tradition befits the admonition, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”<> (1 Th. 5:21) <>Inspired scripture is what we are to rely on<> – not the things that men may add to it.I’ll leave it at that and hope that this encourages you to pay more attention to the details that have been preserved for us in God’s word as you continue on in your Bible studies.

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