40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
I hope that you have enjoyed our study of this passage -- it has fascinated me, and really made me think about things.
I promised yesterday that we'd look at the amazing change in Peter, and look at the "why" of the change. Because if we can wrap our heads around that change, we can do great things for our Lord, in the way that Peter did -- boldly, confidently.
Let's dig in!
Sometimes we may think that we need more "head knowledge" in order to be better at something, even in our spiritual lives. We may think that in order to accomplish more, we need to study the Bible more, attend church services more, make certain we are in Sunday School, maybe even go to Bible college. "If I learn as much as I can, maybe I will change. I will be able to do more." Of course, the Bible tells us that all of those things are important:
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a
workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the
word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15)
But wait a minute . . . if anybody had "head knowledge" it would have been Peter and the disciples. They had spent three years at Jesus' feet and at His side. They'd been taught all the right things, and learned the correct doctrines. But Peter still denied Christ, and nearly gave up on everything, going back to his fishing, his other life skills.
Peter's problem was deeper than that -- and it is a problem that many of us Christians share. His flaw was this -- when he was faced with a challenge, Peter always responded "I can do all things...."
Notice where the emphasis is? On the "I."
Peter was what some people would call "a man's man." He was bold, a leader, tough and ready for a fight. If he couldn't do it, then it couldn't be done. That was the kind of fellow he was.
You know when Peter's world changed? When he started walking with Jesus. Remember when Peter saw Jesus walking on the water? He must have said to himself, "I can do that!" So then he said to Jesus, ""Lord,
if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water." (Matthew 14:28) But then, when he found himself out on the water, with the water lapping around his legs and the wind blowing, then he said to himself, "I can't do this!" and he began to sink. He reached his hand out to Jesus and said, "Lord, save me!"
After that, Jesus told his disciples that he was going to be betrayed, arrested, and more . . . Peter must have been thinking to himself, "I can stop this!" But then Peter found himself alone by the fire, and Jesus was not far away, under arrest. Peter didn't want to be discovered, and thought he might be imprisoned and possibly killed, so he thought to himself,"I can't do this after all!"
The change in Peter happened when he stopped saying, "I can do all things" and started saying, "I can't do all things - by myself. But I can, do all things through Him who gives me strength!" (Phil. 4:13)
When Peter adjusted to the fact that he was a fallible, flawed human like the rest of us (grin) and he allowed Jesus to have His way in his life, then his new life skills could be utilized. God could use him in a mighty way -- and He can use us, too! We can reach our full potential, just as Peter did, by relying on God to give us our new life skills and the strength to use them!