“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ…
Grace and peace be yours in abundance”
-I Peter 1:1,2-
We all know who Peter is. Some history books use his Aramaic name and call him Cephas, but Jesus gave him the name Peter, meaning “ROCK.” If Jesus thought of him as being as hard or as tough as a rock, it’s pretty obvious to me that Peter didn’t wear black, have lace on his handkerchief, or sit around singing hymns all day, drinking vinegar to keep from smiling.
Peter was a pretty tough character in his younger days. Born to Jonah, a fisherman who lived in northern Galilee on the shores of the sea, Peter joined with a couple of buddies, James and John, and ran a fishing business that gave them a pretty fair living. I have yet to meet a commercial fisherman who put perfume behind his ear or frosted his hair. I’m sure Peter was no different. The wind and weather bronzed and etched his face, and the long hours of labor battling the seas and the nets hardened his muscles and strengthened his back.
As I think or as you think of Peter, we can think of four qualities or attributes.
FIRST, he was a man of action. He never vacillated. He didn’t play the grandstand. He may not have always been right, but we knew where he stood. He did what he thought was right. It was this quality that made him a leader.
SECOND, Peter was a man of commitment and loyalty. Once Jesus entered his life, Peter quickly walked away from his nets and vowed allegiance to the Carpenter-Messiah from Galilee. “Lord, no matter what others may do, I’ll die for You. I’ll go to the wall with You!” That was Peter temperament!
THIRD, Peter was a man of courage. When the temple guards seized Jesus as He prayed alone in the garden, it was Peter who quickly drew his sword in defense.
Yes, I remember that Peter denied Jesus as he warmed his hands outside the house of Caiaphas, but I am also reminded that he was the only one who even tried to stay close to Jesus in His hour of trial.
The closer he was, physically, to Jesus, the more secure he was psychologically; and inversely, the farther away he was physically, the greater his insecurity and difficulty.
As I think of Simon Peter, I also think of him as a man of conviction (this is the fourth quality or attribute of Peter). “I say You are the Son of God!” shouts Peter as he waves his fist in the air to drive home his point. It was the same conviction that, fired by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, caused Peter to become the leader of the early church and eventually give his life for the cause of Jesus Christ. According to tradition, Peter was crucified upside down, because he did not deem himself worthy to die as his Lord had died. After Pentecost, Peter was a changed individual.
Why bother to talk about the life of a man who lived and died 2,000 years ago? I see myself in Peter. I also see my neighbors and friends in him. Perhaps you see yourself in Peter as well, especially in this troubled time and what we are going through as a church. There is something of this man in us all, and the way God used him with his faults and failures gives me hope, for the God who changed his life is still in the business of changing people.
GOD BLESS TO ALL!