“And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter”. (Mark 3:16)
Peter is the best known of all the disciples, of the Lord Jesus Christ. In a sense, we admire the dynamic personality that he was, because, in a sense, there is a lot of Peter in us.
Born in the small fishing village (about 100 people) next to the Galilee sea, Peter is as bold, brash and salt of the earth as you can get. His hometown – Bethsaida – means “house of fish”. Peter and his brother, Andrew, may not have been as educated in the Torah (the first five books of our regular Bible) as the priests, scribes, and Pharisees, but they were just like every Jewish man. They knew the Law of God. This would be their foundation as Disciples of the One Who gave the Law to Moses.
Among many other noteworthy things done by Peter, his bold character speaks loudly through his statements and actions:
- “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (to the question by Jesus as to ‘who do men say I am’). Peter is the first to make the clearest statement of the Messiah. Jesus said this was a divinely-inspired statement (Matthew 16:16-17)
- Peter jumped out of the boat in the rough stormy waters of the Galilee and started walking on it when He saw Jesus walking in the water towards the boat. When Peter took his eyes of Jesus, he began to sink (Matthew 14:28-29)
- Peter boasted to the Lord that he would never forsake him “even if everyone else did (Matthew 26:33). Yet Peter denied he even knew Jesus, with cussing and swearing, to strangers, not once but thrice.
- The impetuous Peter took his sword and cut off the ear of Malchus, the Temple guard after they came to arrest Jesus (John 18-10-11). This led Jesus to teach a truth that His followers will not live by the sword.
Peter, as hot-headed and shoot-from-the-lip, as he was, also did some wonderful things. After the Resurrection, he ran to the open, empty tomb and was the first man there. After Jesus appeared on the banks of the sea and was seen cooking fish and bread for them, Peter did not wait for the boat to come ashore. He jumped into the water and swam to the Savior. It was here that Jesus officially forgave Peter and appointed him the foundation on which the Church will be built.
- It was Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit after Jesus went back Home, and sent the Counselor, who preached the first evangelistic sermon of the Christian Church. Three thousand were saved (Acts 2:14-41).
- It was Peter who healed a lame beggar. He was arrested and brought before the
- Jewish High Court and told to stop preaching Jesus. He kept on. The man who denied, lied and cried ignorance about and of Jesus, was now shouting His Name out, loud and clear (Acts 4).
- Peter was there when the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8).
- Peter was there when God sent him to witness to the Roman soldier Cornelius In these two actions, he was a living example of exhibiting the Foundations of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and the fact that it included EVERYBODY (Acts 10)!
- Peter stood up for non-Jewish Christians and told them they did not have to follow Jewish Religious Law in order to become followers of Christ, thereby, literally expanding the church to all tribes and tongues (Acts 15:7-11).
- Peter dictated the Gospel of Mark, to Mark, who wrote down the first-hand eye-witness account of Jesus by the Great Disciple. It was the first book of the New Testament ever written (around 45 AD) and used as Scripture by the Apostle Paul in his travels.
- Peter wrote the two amazing Epistles of 1 and 2 Peter, which clearly gave us the Keys to Godly living. In 2 Peter 3: Peter revealed for the first time, that the writings, letters, and exhortations of the Apostle Paul, are Scriptures.
Today, we are very much like Peter. We are quick to speak. We make promises we sometimes are unable to keep, as we oversell and under-deliver. This is a serious one because sometimes our families get short-changed as we run around trying to put out fires everywhere. So now it is time for soul-searching.
- If we find ourselves full of pride by thinking “how could Peter do …..(fill in the blank offense against God), then let’s pull out that same Prayer Journal I recommended in the application steps of Matthew 3:16, and start documenting our prideful thoughts.
- Let us then, approach the Lord in the spirit of humility and seek His forgiveness from these shortcomings. Denying we fall short, while thinking with a false secret of superiority over another human being, is a transgression against God. It is best if ever never let things get this far, for our own good.
- As a sign of our growing maturity, as a Christian and just a basic human being, let us be very careful about rash decision making, then projecting the Name of God unto it.
- Sometimes in life, we must make a snap decision about a matter. In such a case, pray hard first and discern any potential fallout from this decision. Then, think biblically as to evaluating any consequences. Wherever possible, consider the end from the beginning, just like our Heavenly Father would. He sees all sides of the question and its consequences. After all of this, then make the decision trusting God, in complete dependence on Him.
- Be willing to go the extra mile, to show someone of a different background, race or status as us, the love and salvation of God, in Jesus Christ. Peter showed us how to build the church: reach out to all, from all nations and neighborhoods.
- Be willing to give it all. Peter, like all of the Apostles/Disciples of Christ, gave his life for the cause of Christ when the time came. Only John, who wrote the Books which bear his name (John, Revelation etc.)lived to be a ripe old 95 years of age. Peter, according to legend, was crucified upside down, because he did not think it worthy to be executed like His Savior and mine - the Lord Jesus Christ. Ask yourself this question - are there things I will consider giving up for Jesus Christ? If so, what could those things be? Pray for this question to resonate, within.