As we look at how we find hope, even in our times of great trial and great change, one of the best examples for us in the Bible is someone who was closest to Jesus. Someone who was just as human and fallible as you and I, who struggled just as much to truly understand who Jesus is and how to put his trust in him.
As I began to study Peter, I wanted to know what he learned that helped him reach out his hand to Jesus immediately when he began to sink instead of going under and drowning?
When Peter denied Jesus the night Jesus was arrested, what made him turn back to the other disciples and to Jesus instead of running away in disgrace?
When he was arrested, what helped him hold strong to his faith and boldly proclaim the truth of Jesus to his accusers instead of withering in despair?
What can we learn from him to help us in our own lives to live with hope and boldness, instead of fear and despair?
Let’s start by looking at the calling of Peter to follow Jesus:
[callout]As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. ~Matthew 4:18-20 (NIV)
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). ~John 1:42 (NIV)[/callout]
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In this story from Matthew 4:18-20, Peter sets off on the biggest adventure of his life. He begins to follow Jesus and is selected to be one of the twelve disciples. In fact, he becomes the leader of the disciples, the one who is always listed first and the one who seems to be the group’s spokesperson. Beyond being a disciple, he also becomes Jesus’ best friend and many scholars even believe Jesus stayed in Peter’s house when they were in Capernaum.
Jesus called Peter into a life of change, and Peter said “yes”, putting his trust in Jesus to lead him through the transformation.
As we dig deeper into Peter’s story, we’ll see he experienced all the highs and lows of the mountain trek we all do as we grow our faith. He witnessed miracles and heard life-affirming teachings from Jesus, but he also struggled to understand just who Jesus was and what Jesus meant for his life and for the rest of Israel. He had to learn the hard way what it meant to go ‘all in’ for Jesus and truly commit his life to Jesus. Through it all, he learned the true meaning of redemption and grace and he learned to trust in Jesus fully.
By saying “yes” to Jesus, Peter transformed his life from a simple fisherman to a bold leader of a new church, a fearless evangelist bringing the good news of Jesus to people all over the world.
Let’s study Peter’s life together and see how his reactions to the trials and storms of his life parallel our own and what did he learn from his walk with Jesus that enabled him to face those storms with more boldness and peace.
What can we learn from Peter to better equip us to face our own storms?
For Peter, it all started with this first “yes.” Will you join me as we also answer Jesus’ call to “Come, follow me” on this adventure of faith?
Let’s walk together a while in Peter’s shoes and see what he learned as he became one of the first to answer “yes” to this call from Jesus.
Read the story of Peter’s call for yourself: Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:14-20, Luke 5:1-11, John 1:35-42. Read all four gospel accounts and note what additional details you learn.
Reflect on the questions below:
1) What does this passage tell you about Jesus?
2) How does this passage speak to you as you face changes in your own life?
3) How do you relate to Peter in this story of his call?[/callout]
If you want to dig deeper into the life and lessons of Peter, I highly recommend two books:
“A Fragile Stone: The Emotional Life of Simon Peter”, by Michael Card and “The Fisherman: A Novel”, by Larry Huntsperger
[callout]This post is part of the “A Better Change” series. For more information on this series and to find related posts, click here: A Better Change Series – Overview[/callout]