Pastor Ken Graves Shares the Apostle Peter’s Experience through Poetry
Ken Graves, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Bangor, in Central Maine, delivered the following poem during a session at the 2021 Southeast Calvary Chapel Pastors’ Conference in mid-February.
He explained before he recited the poem, “I relate to—and I think most of you men can relate to—that one apostle, Peter, especially the one we see in the Gospels. It’s harder to relate to the Peter we see in the Book of Acts because he’s awesome, under the power of the Holy Spirit. He’s not so awesome in the Gospels. He’s really carnal, and I relate to him.”
Ken continued, “I found myself fasting and praying and putting myself in his place in the Garden of Gethsemane. All of the life experiences, all of the years of competing—’I’m the greatest disciple of all time’—for three and a half years, Peter is the perceived winner of the ‘Who’s the Greatest Disciple?’ contest. I get that guy too well. So, putting myself there, I wrote this poem.”
The video of Ken’s teaching that contains the poem is embedded here. The poem begins at 4:51, and a transcript can be found below.
Please continue to remember Pastor Ken, Calvary Chapel Bangor, and their ministry Calvary Residential Discipleship as they fight in court against the state of Maine and Governor Janet Mills (D) to defend their right to study the Bible and worship.
By Ken Graves
I saw them coming and with them came my chance; my whole life led up to that moment, that pivotal circumstance.
I did not wait to prove I was great, and I didn’t need a command. The first blood spilled, the first one killed, would be from the sword in my hand.
The fear and the thrill, the heat and the chill, all rushing through my chest; surely all that came before this had brought me to this test.
Our people had heroes but all in our past; it seemed that a new one was rising at last. The One we had waited these centuries for, but He could only be victor when there was a war.
Here it begins and I’ll stand with him till everyone around us falls. Was not this why He chose me, was not this why I answered His call?
My hand found my sword, and my sword found its mark and swung it with all of my might. With my left hand I pulled my leader behind me; my weapon was still in my right.
I lunged again to advance my attack, when His strong but gentle hand laid hold on my arm and turned me around as He gave me His command: “Peter,” as He named me, “Put away your sword.”
First I froze; then I melted at the order of my Lord.
Was not my role to play the man, to fight for my King and for my land? Not just stand here and watch them take Him away? I could not understand.
In the horror of confusion, I followed from afar. The night above me refused even the light of a single star.
Oh, night so dark; Oh, night of my soul; May I never see you again!
The night I heard that rooster crow, I denied my King, my Friend.
As I uttered my final denial, calling curses on my head, I turned to see Him look at me, and I remembered what He said.
In His eyes the pain, in mine the shame, as my vision started to blur. Through rivers of bitter tears, I saw Him wounded by my words.
Running away, I still could hear the mocking witness of my denial. The night continued for three long days; none of my thoughts could reconcile.
Night finally gave way to the glorious day that I was told that He was risen. “He spoke your name,” she told me; the name which He had given.
To hear the words that He’s alive were not as strange to me as those words, “Go tell Peter …” They were still harder to believe.
But it was so as we did see.
He conquered death and the grave, and His grace swept over my tortured soul in wave upon wave upon wave.
Not many days later in that city where we had stayed; just as He commanded us, we waited as we prayed.
The Spirit came like wind and fire, infusing us with might; bursting out into the street now, empowered for the fight.
Now the real war began; it wasn’t against Rome, not against man. No arm of flesh, no sword of steel, but a weapon against which no one could stand.
One wave of the Godsword was like putting the sickle to the wheat, cut thousands of hearers crowding in the streets,
Cut them to their deepest part; cut them to their very heart.
“What must we do?” they cried. “Repent and believe,” I told them all. “It was for our sins Messiah died. But as David said, He didn’t stay dead, He rose up from His grave.”
I told them then, I’d tell you now, “Call on His Name and be saved.”
Oh, King so great! Oh, King of my soul! When will I see You again?
Help me to be Your witness, Lord; true to You till then.
Ken concluded after the poem, “Glory be to our King!”
To listen to more of the teachings at the conference, go to https://subsplash.com/ccmerrittisland/media/ms/+kh6grxc
All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
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