My Sunday morning Bible study is taking a fresh look at Peter and how his life often mirrors our own at various times in life. We started with the events surrounding the calling of Peter to be one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
The Look (John 1:35-42): Andrew learns about Jesus first, and then goes to his brother Simon (Peter) and tells him that he’s found the Messiah, who is the promised and long-awaited deliverer. Peter believes enough to accompany his excited brother to see Jesus (John 1:41-42). What I would like you to notice is John 1:42 where Jesus looks at Peter. The New Living Translation says Jesus looked at Peter intently. I see this to mean that Jesus gazed at Peter, perhaps peering right into his soul. I see no casual glance here.
As Jesus looks at him, perhaps he sees Peter’s potential to do great things for the kingdom. In the course of this gaze, Jesus gives Peter a new Aramaic name, “Cephas” (meaning “Peter” in Greek) which in English means “stone.” When Jesus looks deep into your soul, what obstacles might he see in your life that could hinder your service to him? What potential might he see in you to do great things for the kingdom?
The Call (Matthew 4:18-22, Luke 5:1-11): Here we see Jesus walking along the shore and telling Peter, Andrew, James and John that they should follow him (Matthew 4:19). Jesus seemed to have enough clout since these rough men left their businesses and families to become disciples of Jesus. Later we find Jesus needing to use Peter’s boat as a stage to teach the people (Luke 5:3). After the teaching session, Jesus has Peter go out for a catch of fish, this time going into the deep water (Luke 5:4).
My observation is this: these stories are not simply three versions of the same story of Jesus calling Peter to become one of his disciples. I believe that these stories are included in the New Testament to show us the persistence of God. Each time, Peter gains more information until he finally declares his sinfulness (Luke 5:8) and leaves everything to follow Jesus (Luke 5:11). I believe that while Peter was around Jesus, he actually paid attention to his teaching, so when the time was right, he became fully committed to Christ and his mission.
How often do we believe the right stuff about Jesus, and even hang around him for a while, before we totally surrender to him? My original question is to ask, “Does God call each of us, or only a select few, to be in his service?” Aren’t you glad he’s persistent, and does not give up on us?