Peter was a Galilean; and in first century Hebrew culture, that carried a certain predisposition. Primarily, it described a people with an independent spirit, and rebellious attitude toward subjugation (especially by the gentile Romans). The ancient Hebrew historian Josephus described them this way, “…ever fond of innovations, and by nature disposed to changes and delighting in seditions.”
In the gospel narratives, we see Peter with an increasing anxiousness to get “the revolution” started. To the disciples, Jesus represented the One who would lead them to victory over a cruel empire. However, the dream of a rebellion came to an end in Gethsemane when the swing of a sword resulted in only an anti-climactic ear injury. In the following chapters of the gospels, we read the painful details of Peter’s denial, desertion, repentance, and shame. Fortunately, the story doesn’t end with his failed attempt at revolution. Jesus personally restores him, and he goes on to pursue something greater.
In his letter called “I Peter”, he introduces himself as “Peter, an Apostle of Christ”. No longer is there the residue of a rebellious spirit, there’s a desire to be known as a servant of Christ, with a greeting filled with words like “grace”, “peace” and “hope”. His heart didn’t beat for Galilee and “the cause” anymore, because it belonged to the Lord.
What does your heart beat for today? Is it an identity? A political cause? A hobby? We can even let church programs or leaders become the focus if we’re not careful. May our attention today be on the One worthy of such devotion, and may our life demonstrate a heart that’s His.