Perhaps when you were young, you learned the little tune that named the twelve disciples. If not, or if you’ve forgotten it, Matthew, Mark, and Luke give us a list, pretty much in the same order.
Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus and Thaddaeus; Simon the zealot and Judas Iscariot. Matthew 10:2-4
By far, the one we hear about most is Simon whom Jesus later names Peter. I’ve already written several blogs about this very dynamic character who tops the list. While he doesn’t always show himself to be the “rock,” he certainly is a work in progress.
When Jesus walked on the water, Peter said,
“Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Matthew 14:28
Rather adventurous, right?
Then there was the time when Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” And Peter speaks for the group,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16
Well done, Peter! The very basis of our faith! Or as Jesus said,
“…on this rock I will build my church…” Matthew 16:18
But then, Jesus began to explain to them that he must suffer many things at the hands of the Jerusalem leaders, be killed, and on the third day be raised again.
Peter pops back with,
“Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” Matthew 16:22
His audacious boldness has gone too far. Jesus smacks back with,
“Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Matthew 16:23
Six days later, Jesus takes the inner circle of Peter, James and John up the mountain where he is transfigured before them. Moses and Elijah appear as well. Not knowing what to say in these truly awe inspiring moments, Peter feels compelled to say something—anything.
“Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” Matthew 17:4
God Himself intervenes through a cloud of bright light.
“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!“ Matthew 17:5
In a study about gifts, I learned a powerful lesson; when taken to the extreme, our gifts can become a negative.
We hear the voice of this bold disciple other times as well, but through the questions he asks and the denials he makes, this pebble of a man becomes the rock Jesus destined him to be.
Eventually, Peter is a faithful leader and the preacher who brought thousands to the Lord.
Whether we’re quiet or bold in personality, may we, like Peter, learn and grow through the rough edges of life to be what God has called us to be.
~ Joyce ~