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Jul. 19, 2023 | St. Mary's Foundation
by Bradley Burck

Peter: Imperfect Rock – Weekly Devotional for St. Mary’s Medical Center

Seeds of Faith By Chaplain Greg Creasy and Robin Creasy

Abraham - Seeds of Faith Devotional

Peter Was a Fisherman…

Simon Peter, commonly referred to as Peter, Simon, and Cephas (Aramic), was a fisherman. He was strong, outspoken, impulsive, and passionate. Based on his profession, he likely had serious survival skills that storms on the water and the inconsistency of the catch shaped. If we close our eyes and imagine Peter, we may create an image of broad shoulders, over tanned skin, callused hands, and a stern face. The bible does not give many details about his physical appearance, but it does tell us about the significance of this powerful man.

Peter and His Journey

The journey from simple fisherman to an apostle of Christ is found throughout the New Testament. The story is powerful, yet filled with Peter’s imperfections and Jesus’ ability to use him just as God made him. The impact of Peter’s life cannot be summed up in this short study, but Greg and I would like to share a few facts about Peter that serve as powerful examples for all of us.

Simon Peter was expecting Jesus and Jesus was expecting Peter. Before he knew Jesus personally, Peter followed John the Baptist whose message was to foretell the arrival of the Messiah. John the Baptist proclaimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:35-26) and Peter believed that. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, met Jesus first and immediately went to find his brother to bring him to Jesus. When Jesus met Simon Peter, Jesus gave him a new name: Cephas (Aramaic) or Peter (Greek), which means “rock.” How appropriate!

Identity and Importance

Later in their relationship Jesus reminded Peter of his identity and importance. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says, “And I say also unto thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Remember… Peter means “a rock or stone” – Jesus knew the destiny of Peter! Jesus knew that he would be instrumental in building His church.

Change

Peter accepted change and Jesus changed Peter. Peter and Jesus had a powerful moment early in their relationship that would put Peter’s life on a different course. Upon seeing the miracle of fish on an otherwise barren fishing trip, Peter realizes his sinful state and gives glory to the Lord before him by falling to his knees and exclaiming, “‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’” (Luke 5:8 NIV). Yet Jesus looked at this imperfect but beautiful heart and said, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” (Luke 5:10 NIV)

Peter developed a very close relationship with Jesus. Peter was considered a part of Jesus’ inner circle. There were several important events when only Peter, John, and James were witnesses, including the Transfiguration (when Jesus’ physical appearance changed to reveal His divinity, Matthew 17:2).

Peter Followed

Jesus told Peter to follow and Peter followed. I don’t believe in coincidences, so when Jesus said the exact same words in His first few sentences to Peter as His last, we should take note. In their first interaction, Jesus told Peter to follow Him (Matthew 4:19). Then after Jesus’ resurrection, and at the special breakfast on the shore where Jesus restored Peter, His last recorded words to him were once again, “Follow me!” (John 21:19).

I can imagine Peter also noticed the repeat of these words. When you follow someone, you imitate what they do from your position behind them. Peter went behind Jesus and shadowed Him, seeking to learn and be like Christ in all his ways. Of course, Jesus is perfect, and therefore Peter would not achieve a perfect imitation on earth, but he dropped everything to try.

The Big Picture

Peter got the big picture and Jesus used him in big ways. Jesus wanted to be sure the whole world knew that when He gave His life for all, He meant for all. And He used Peter to make this clear, to show us just how big His love is and just how capable His grace is—that it can forgive the sins of all and give all everlasting life. Romans 3:22-24 states, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

Peter was the first to take the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10:1-48). Can you imagine Peter as he stepped into the home of the first Gentile? In a time when Jews were not supposed to interact with people outside of their faith, Peter stepped into a home to tell them that the Lord was the Lord of all people and not just the Jews! Now that was a radical message! That was breaking down barriers! That was being used in big ways!

Peter The Spokesman

We may know Peter most for walking on the water to meet Jesus there… or perhaps for his denial of Christ, but there is so much more to him. After Jesus’ ascension into heaven, having been restored and forgiven by His Lord, Peter became the spokesman for the apostles. This uneducated man spoke with boldness to crowds of thousands, bringing them the gospel and converting them to what we now call Christianity. In his 30-plus years of doing work for God’s Kingdom, he performed many miracles including bringing the dead back to life (Acts 9:36-43). He traveled all over sharing Jesus’ message, enduring persecution, imprisonment, and ultimately death, showing his maturity by living his faith.

Your Identity

Once a decision to follow Jesus is made, He becomes our identity. Peter taught us that our new identity trumps our given name, our professions, our imperfections, our fears, our self-doubts. Peter’s life has also taught us that when we agree to follow Christ we can become more and more like Him. It can be scary sometimes and sometimes we might even fail, but we, like Peter, can be imperfect rocks on which the church stands.

Prayer

O Lord, Today I make the choice to follow after You. I want to see the world as You see it… I want to offer compassion and love as You so loved those around You. As I follow You, give me Your strength and power to continue to offer others the opportunity to know You as Lord and Savior.
Amen.

SMMC Chaplains

© 2023 Greg and Robin Creasy