John 1:42 (NKJV)
42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).
Have you ever thought about what the Lord would call you if He were to change your name? Maybe I am the only one that thinks about that. I can’t think of anything more flattering to be call a rock. That is how I want my faith to be seen, solid as a rock. Here we see Jesus change Simon’s name to Cephas, which is translated Peter… Peter the rock!
Who Was Peter?
Notice that Jesus did not change Simon’s name to Perfect, because he was certainly not, but we can take heart in that! Think about how powerfully Peter was used by Jesus. Peter was one of the most influential characters of the early church. Let’s take a look at the characteristics that best suit Peter.
First The Negative
Headstrong - We often see Peter forcing his own will upon a situation. Almost telling Jesus what He should do and why. Matthew 16:21–22 is the perfect example of this… (21) From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. (22) Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
Weak In The Flesh - Peter allowed his flesh to rule sometimes. Instead of keeping his cook, he allowed anger and pride to take over. One such case would have been in John 18:10 where it is written… (10) Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
Inconsistent - We see Peter achieve wild success followed by massive failures. Of course, the greatest of these was the instance where he denies Christ.
Now The Positive
Excited - Peter is excited to service the Lord, ready to learn, ready to be used. Exactly the mindset in which we all should be living. Peter basically saying, “Here I am Lord… Let’s go!”
Committed - If we look at everything Peter gave up to follow the Lord, it is pretty impressive. He was a fisherman, probably making a pretty decent wage. When the Lord said “follow Me”, he dropped everything!
Repentant - Peter understood his failures, he knew when he fell short of the Lord’s will and showed a humble heart seeking forgiveness.
Peter Always Put God First - In everything Peter did, He did it for Christ.
Be Like Pete
When we put the whole picture together, we see an imperfect man used mightily by a perfect God. We can take heart in the example Peter is. We can see a life absolutely transformed, right down to his name. If God can use Peter to start His early church, with all his failures, with his doubt, with his falling short… who is to say God cannot use us?
Peter’s life is worthy of a character study if you have not yet. He was truly an imperfect man, chosen to do the work of our loving and merciful God. The Lord can you each of us for the furthering of the Gospel as long as we have a willing heart!
John 6:68 (NKJV)
68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.