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Once Twice Three Times…Simon Peter?

By Jeff Todd

Once, Twice, Three Times  Simon Peter?

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. – Matthew 16:18

As we all know, Jesus chose the original twelve disciples. From reading the Bible, it may appear that He made bad choices in the men that were selected. These were ordinary guys with an extraordinary mission of spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth. They had flaws, but Jesus was able to use them anyway and He had a specific purpose behind each one he chose.

Recently, I have been interested in why Jesus picked them. What was so special that made them qualified for the job Jesus wanted them to do? The Bible doesn’t mention any special gifts or talents other than maybe their occupation before they entered into the ministry. I believe the Apostles were selected because their character and traits would later represent the different people Jesus ‘chooses’ today. Which one represents you?

The Apostle I would like to discuss today is Simon (Peter). He was the first person that was chosen. According to the Scriptures, he was a ‘business’ man. He was a partner in a family business in the fishing industry along with Andrew (his brother), John (his father), and James (John’s brother).

His brother, Andrew, was already a disciple of John the Baptist at the time when he introduced Simon (Peter) to Jesus. This was an early act of discipleship where a saved person leads someone to the Lord. When they meet, Jesus changes his name from Simon to Cephas, which translates to Peter (meaning ‘rock’). Jesus tells him in Matthew 16:18, that upon this ‘rock’ He would build His church. In verse 19, Jesus says He would give him the keys to the kingdom of heaven. This tells me that Peter was the starting point of the ministry.

Why would Jesus want to start a ministry with a man like Peter? What did Peter have to offer? Let’s take a look at who Peter was:

He Was A Fisherman

Being a fisherman was an honest trade. Peter had joined forces with three of his family members and had a successful business of catching fish. I would assume they supplied fish to the markets in their area. They had boats and fishing equipment. I would also assume they knew all the ‘hot spots’ on the sea where they could find the ‘big catches’.

Peter was skilled; he knew the equipment, handling a boat in the water, and about fish. He also knew what tools would be needed to catch the fish he wanted to catch.

He Was A Business Man

He had a business, but he wasn’t in it by himself. To me, this would be a difficult task in itself. He couldn’t make all the decisions. He would have to be able to work well with others and work as a team. Many partnerships fall apart because they lack in this area. You have to consider other people’s ideas and respect their feelings.

Businesses have customers. Peter had to deal with people making sure he offered them a good product and that they were satisfied. Developing ‘people’ skills is very important when you’re in business.

Leadership qualities are required in business, too. You have to be willing to step out when others are sitting. Many times this requires a bold and courageous attitude.

I would guess that Peter was good at juggling his time. He was a married business owner and probably had to separate his time between business and family. He had to have time management skills.

Based on what we know about Peter, let’s determine his character – the good and the bad:

His Character: He Had Some Good Points

As you can see from reading above, Peter had some good traits. I believe these were used in the ministry. His boldness and being courageous helped him to make the first step towards Jesus when he walked on the water (Matthew 14:29). Peter was also the first to speak to the crowd at The Day Of Pentecost (Acts 2:14).

To sum it up:

He was business minded

He was smart

He was bold and courageous

He had developed people skills

He was possible good at time management

He was successful

Peter was a leader – no doubt. Jesus knew that and saw something in his character. I guess that’s why Peter is considered the ‘leader’ of the disciples. Jesus worked with him and developed something great in this man and took him places he had never dreamed. With a mission of spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth, I would say that he had fulfilled his destiny.

His Character: He Had Some Issues

From the Bible, many of the ‘good points’ of Peter’s character also had a negative side to them. Being a smart, successful, business man could have created a sense of pride in himself. Even though he ‘followed’ Jesus, he could always fall back on ‘himself’ when the troubles came. I think he did that on many occasions and wasn’t fully committed to the ministry. Being bold and courageous is a good trait to have when you know that Jesus is watching over you, but if you use it out of selfish pride, it can get you in a mess and make you do things without thinking.

When Jesus was betrayed and was going to be arrested by the religious leaders, Peter’s first impulse was to fight back with the sword and cut the servant’s ear off. He made a bad choice that could have been worse. I’m sure Peter battled with these bad traits, but Jesus was still able to use him.

In baseball, it’s three strikes you’re out. In discipleship, Jesus doesn’t keep up with the strikes. He allows us to learn from them and keeps us going.

Denies Jesus 3 Times

(Ref: Luke 22:34, Luke 22: 54-62)

We all know about this scripture from the Bible. It seems that in the face of opposition, Peter was quick to deny knowing Jesus, even though he had told Jesus that he would never do it. Denying Jesus seems to be one of the worst things a minister or someone could do in their walk with Christ, but Jesus continued to use him. The hardest part was when Peter realized what he had done. It was a ‘pride buster’ and actually grew his faith in Jesus and took away some of the pride he had in himself.

When we are at church or at the church functions, we are all about Jesus. Right? But how do we act in our social circles outside of the church environment? By acting anti-Christian is a form of denial of the One who saved you.

Jesus Asks Him If He Loves Him 3 Times

(Ref: John 21: 15-17)

Why would Jesus have to repeat the same question to Peter three times? Did Peter really love Jesus? Peter said he didthree times!

Peter comes across as a man that would say what the people would want to hear without actually meaning it in his heart. I believe Peter loved Jesus, but not as much as Jesus wanted him to. A deep love for Him would be needed to accomplish the goals that Jesus had for him.

Do we love Jesus? Of course we do. But, do we love Him enough to do everything He tells us to do? How many times have we failed to follow His will for our lives? Ouch!

Peter Returns to His Boat 3 Times

(Ref: Matthew 4: 18-20, Luke 5: 1-11, John 21: 1-14)

In three different instances in the Bible, Jesus meets Peter at his boat. The first time was when Peter was called to be a disciple. Jesus told him to follow Him and be ‘fishers of men’ and he did.

The second time, Jesus meets up with him at his boat. It seems Peter was having trouble catching fish that day. Jesus told him where to throw his nets. Peter did as Jesus told him and he brought in a big catch. After that miracle, Peter decides to follow Jesus, again?

The third time was after Jesus’ death. He meets up with Peter at his boat and shows him again where the fish were biting and Peter brings in a lot of fish. After this miracle, Peter decides to follow Jesus, again?

My question is why did it take three times for Peter to ‘truly’ follow Jesus? I have mentioned this before in other writings. Peter had two opposing forces in his life: 1) the things he knew how to do, and 2) something new he had to learn. To truly follow Jesus, he had to learn new things and new ways of living life. He knew about fishing – it was his business.

When ministry gets difficult, it is easier to fall back on what we know and push ministry aside. It could have been a ‘money’ thing. Ministry is definitely not a ‘cash cow’ if you are doing it for the right reasons. You begin to look at the time you spend in it for ‘free’ and wonder if you should be applying this time on things that show a ‘profit’. Peter was a business man and probably battled with this. Ministry work has its rewards, but you may never see them until you get to Heaven. Ministry is ‘working’ on faith. Amen?

His Accomplishments In Ministry

We would like to think that Jesus chose the holiest of men that walked the earth to become His disciples, but He didn’t. These were ordinary men with an ordinary life. These guys were no better than we are. As you read the Bible, you will be able to relate to one of these disciples on a personal level.

Jesus worked with and through Peter and accomplished great things. There were many people saved through Peter’s works; churches were built, men and women of God were encouraged to ‘keep going’, and his teachings continue to inspire people all over the world. That’s not too bad for a simple fisherman. The key ingredient was his relationship with Jesus Christ. Even though he made mistakes, Jesus still used him and continues to use him after he died.

We can apply this to our life today. We don’t know how or why Jesus uses us, but if we continue to pursue His righteousness and follow Him, Jesus will accomplish great things through us, too. Yes, we will make mistakes and that’s OK. Keep moving! Jesus knows what He’s doing and He knows how to do it through you!

God bless you!

Jeff

Harbor Of Light Ministries

Jeff Todd was born in Newnan, GA forty years ago. He is currently a minister and teacher of the Word through his ministry, Harbor Of Light Ministries. You can visit them on MySpace (add url plus harboroflightministries)

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITERSMAKE A WEBSITE

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