Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Called to Follow - Simon Peter

Called to faith in Christ by his brother Andrew we see Simon also called Peter. Andrew who ran to his brother to share the good news, "I have found the Messiah." He tells Simon Peter.

How quickly Simon Peter grasps a hold of the news and believes. This fisherman from Galilee did not know that his destiny was to become the strongest disciple and leader of the early church of Jesus Christ. He only knew what he was being told by his brother.

Andrew brings his brother to Jesus for his first encounter with the one he will soon follow. Jesus looks at him and says "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas."

What a curious encounter. To meet up with the one his brother emphatically claims to be the Messiah and be given a new name by Him. Not just any name but one meaning the "rock". What would this mean to him and his future? This impetuous, volatile, unpredictable young man with a temperament of varying from one extreme to another would be called "rock." Not plausible or even possible, he must of thought.

After returning home with Andrew and resuming there fishing career, along comes Jesus. We are not told how long in between these two encounters but we know they were convinced of Jesus' position. Because they dropped their nets and went with Him at His command to follow. After Jesus spoke the words Follow Me, we see in Matthew 4:20 that they immediately left their nets and followed Him.

I find it interesting that it speaks to the immediate response by the two brothers. There were no questions raised or remarks made, only obedience.

So how does an unpredictable young man respond to the life of a follower of Christ?

In Matthew 16:15-16 we see Peter answer who Jesus is "You are the Christ, Son of the Living God." And Jesus commends him in verse 18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."

Seven verses later we see Peter take Jesus aside and rebuke him. Jesus, tells the disciples of his impending death and is told by Peter "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!"

Jesus turns to Peter and says “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."

This was often the dialog with Simon Peter, from one extreme of emotion to the other. Even up to the end, when Jesus is about to go to the cross. Peter emphatically proclaims his devotion to Christ and that he will never deny him in Mark 14:29. Only to turn around in verse 71 and not only deny him but to do it three times, then curse the very one he swore allegiance to.

Let’s not stop the story here though. If we did we would only see the tragedy in his denial. If we move forward past Jesus' resurrection we see a transformation that shows the incredible power of the Holy Spirit.

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, which included our friend Peter. This once impetuous, volatile young man became the incredible leader of the early church. He was known by the other disciples as the strongest of them and the leader. He was molded by the Spirit of God into a stable, dynamic man that led many to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

In Acts 2:14-40 we see the new man emerge as he preaches the gospel to all who will listen. Here we see the Holy Spirit led Peter deliver the first bold sermon that would lead others to Christ.

So what can we learn from Peter?

We can learn many things from him, but the one that stands out the most to me is this. What ever our character, our identity, our behavior is before we meet Jesus Christ, it will certainly not be the same once the Holy Spirit does its transforming work in us. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is beyond the transforming power of Christ.

We may be in a bad place, but we need not stay there. There is a God. There is a powerful life changing God that wants to transform our lives. Not only does He want to transform our lives but also our character. He is in the business of renewing, restoring and transforming. He will not stop until the end comes and we descend to heaven.

In the end when the job is complete we will stand before the Father in heaven. I believe He will then say, "You look just like my son, you look like Jesus"

The transforming work will be complete.


altonwoods said...

You've written a very thoughtful blog! As I read this sentence, something spoke to me...

What ever our character, our identity, our behavior is before we meet Jesus Christ, it will certainly not be the same once the Holy Spirit does its transforming work in us.

I'm a believer in the Baptism of the spirit,and that God wants everyone to receive it.

However,many Christian people do not believe in speaking in tongues which is considered to be the initial "physical" evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

As "empowered" as some are by the spirit without it, I am compelled to wonder how much MORE empowered any of us could be by experiencing the same Holy Spirit that the apostles did on Pentecost!

What do you believe concerning the gifts of the spirit or being "baptized" in the spirit?

I really love your blog, it's AWESOME!

Blessings, Jeff

Sherri Watt said...

Hi Jeff,

Thanks so much for your comment. As for your question, there are many differing beliefs as far as the filling of the spirit. Each has there reasoning for there belief and have what they believe substaniates it in scripture.

Personally, I was saved in a pentacostal church but now attend a non-pentacostal one. I have spent much time in scripture and looking at what the scholars say about the subject. Being that it is a lesser subject and not a foundational issue I can allow for each to have there own opinion. I believe we MUST not argue and divide over the subject as a church, because when we do Satan wins.

With that said I will tell you that personally I believe a person is filled with the Holy Spirit when they make a true profession of faith. I do not believe that a person only gets "baptised" in the spirit when they speak in tongues. Yes, at pentacost the disciples were filled with the spirit and spoke in tongues but Jesus had not sent the Holy Spirit to them before that.

I do believe that speaking in tongues is still available to the believer today. I myself, in the depths of pain, having no way to express the gravity of it, have cried out to God with no words that could expess it. In that circumstance, the spirit took over and spoke for me. There is a language of the spirit that is there for the believer to experience.

Keep reading and commenting. Thanks!