Simon Peter (Part I) – Paving the Way

Simon Peter (Part I) – Paving the Way

Of the original twelve disciples Simon Peter has a special place in my heart. His walk of faith has given me hope when life’s ups and downs would otherwise make me question my belief. Peter’s strong personality and outspoken, impulsive, and perhaps inhibited ways are also what makes him such a powerful iconic figure for me in my own personal walk.

Who Was Simon Peter?

The disciple many of us recognize as Peter was the son of a fisherman, and likely one himself as it was customary in the time for the son to follow in the trade of his father.  He was named Peter or Cephas when he came to follow Jesus.

 Mark 3:16-19 New International Version (NIV)

16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

 

Luke 6:14-16 New International Version (NIV)

14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

John 1:42 New International Version (NIV)

42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter[a]).

How Did Simon Peter come to know Jesus?

As I child I remember hearing, learning, and singing “I Will Make You Fishers of Men.”  Now as an adult this song has an even deeper and more profound meaning. For it took nothing short of faith for those who Christ called away from their trade to begin an even bigger one… sharing the Gospel with the world.

Matthew 4:19 King James Version (KJV)

19 And he saith unto them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

I had always thought that Simon was among the fishers Jesus called to ministry. Imagine my surprise when I learned that Simon was not among them and that in fact, he was brought to meet Jesus by his brother, Andrew.

John 1:35-42 New International Version (NIV)

John’s Disciples Follow Jesus

35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter[a]).

What is the significance here?

Simon Peter’s brother Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist who paved the way for Jesus.

Matthew 3:1-11 New International Version (NIV)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”[a]

4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with[b] water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire.

What We Can Learn From This

Today it has been stressed the importance of setting an example. Those words could not ring truer. Whether we are family, friend, mutual acquaintance, or a stranger our very words and actions might be the difference between another’s having faith or harboring doubt.

For after all, what might have become of Simon Peter if his brother Andrew had not brought him to see Jesus?  If John the Baptist had not paved the way and prepared people for the coming of Jesus things would be very different.

Who we talk to, reach out to, and know can make a world of difference. The way we behave and demonstrate our faith can make or break another’s.

Pretty amazing food for thought huh?

 

 

 

 

 

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