“One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah.’ He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter/Rock).”
Simon Peter is a compelling case study for The Path. There is great insight to be gained about the Christian life by observing and learning from the life of Simon Peter. What is most compelling is the transformation that took place in Simon’s life as a result of following Jesus.
The passage above tells how Simon’s journey began. When he first met Jesus, the Lord looked at Simon and called him by name. Jesus simply said, “You are Simon son of John.” This is the Lord telling Simon “I know you. I know everything about you. Everything.” Jesus looked into the heart of Simon and saw Simon’s strengths and weaknesses. He saw his hopes and fears. His goals and motivations. Jesus saw the good stuff in Simon’s life, the bad stuff, and everything in between.
Then Jesus did an amazing thing. He changed Simon’s name. “Today you are Simon,” Jesus said, “but someday you will be called Peter. You will be called a rock.”
What Jesus was saying to Simon was this: “I am calling you to follow me, to be one of my disciples, to follow the Way. And in the midst of this lifelong journey, you are going to change. You are going to transform. You are going to become something much greater than you are today. You are going to grow into a man of strength who will be a rock that many people and many generations will count on for courage and strength.”
At that time in his life Simon Peter was definitely not a rock. He was impulsive, impetuous, moody, self-centered, and arrogant. He frequently spoke and acted without thinking, and he was constantly trying to put himself at the forefront of everything.
But through his relationship with Jesus and as he followed The Path, Simon grew. He changed. He became a rock.
I want to look at four ways that Simon Peter transformed as a result of following Jesus. As we study Simon Peter’s journey of transformation, keep in mind that Simon represents you and me. God looks at you today and he sees everything about you. God looks into your heart and sees your strengths and weaknesses, your hopes and fears, your thoughts and motivations. He sees the bad stuff, the good stuff, and all the stuff in between.
God sees you and He loves you.
The Lord looks into your future and sees who you can become if you trust Him and follow The Path. He sees you today, and He sees you transformed in the future. The Lord calls you into relationship with Him—into fellowship with Him—so that He can take you on a path of transformation that will fulfill the vision He has for you. God wants you to become something much greater than you are today.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3.17-18)
As a result of responding to the call of Jesus, there were four major changes that took place in Simon Peter’s life:
1) From the common path to the path of Jesus.
2) From self-centered to Christ-centered.
3) From default to discipline.
4) From fear to faith.
Tomorrow we look at Peter’s decision to follow the path of Jesus rather than the common path.