I have a picture of Peter, the disciple of Jesus and author of 1 & 2 Peter, in my mind. It is that of a fiery out-spoken, burly individual. The closest representation that I can relate to you the reader is that of Peter as portrayed in The Jesus Movie. He acted on his emotions, never failed to question, and seemed to be wherever the action was happening – or maybe getting in the way. Here therein is the blog version of Peter’s life as a follower of Jesus Christ.
We first meet Peter through his brother Andrew. Jesus was publicly identified as the “Lamb of God” by John the Baptist (John 1:35-36). Two of John’s disciples started following Jesus after Jesus invited them to see where He was staying (John 1:38-40). Andrew was one of these two disciples. It seems he discovered something so important that he felt he must share his new-found knowledge. It also seems what he discovered was something he and his brother had discussed before. What was Andrew’s discovery? It was the coming of the Messiah.
When Andrew brings his brother Simon to meet Jesus, our Lord and Savior gives us a remarkable glimpse into His own nature in what He says and how He says it: “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas.” By this statement, Jesus show us His deity in exhibiting His omnipotence by identifying Simon, sight unseen, and his lineage. We also see the claim on a life that only God could make – He gave Simon the new name Cephas “(which means Peter)” (John 1:42). Giving a name denotes a sense of ownership (Romans 6:18-22; 8:15). In effect, Jesus put a seal on Simon that bestowed a sense of shared sonship with the Father (Ephesians 4:30). Finally, the manner in which Jesus greets Simon was one of expectations realized. It was as if Jesus had set up the meeting – even before time (Ephesians 1:11-12).
Simon Peter now had many things to consider before him. He just met the Messiah who apparently already knew him, claimed authority over him, and declared Simon a joint-heir by naming him Peter. Despite having a fishing business (Matthew 4:18), having a wife (Luke 4:38), homes in Capernaum (Mark 1:21, 29), and Bethsaida (John 1:44) Peter immediately left his nets and followed Jesus (Matthew 4:20) upon hearing the command from Jesus “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). This memory must have been a melancholy one three years later when Jesus, after His resurrection told Peter to once again “Follow me” (John 21:19) – signifying the type of death Peter would suffer.
Indeed, a whole new world was now before Peter. We can only imagine the fears and the expectations Peter had racing through his mind. In the coming installments of this series we will attempt to understand some of those fears and expectations. We will look at Peter’s first-hand introduction to faith; We will see how Jesus used Peter’s new name to drive home a point; We will see Peter learn humility in the upper room; We will see Peter falter in his loyalty; We will see him restored; And finally we will see and hear Peter walk and preach in the way Jesus had been preparing him.
Until then, “peace to all of you who are in Christ.” (1 Peter 5:14)