Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter). John 1:42 NLT
And so their relationship began. Peter could not imagine how his life would be turned upside down. He couldn’t envision the power of a name change. Looking back at Peter’s story, there are things I can learn about leaving everything behind to follow Jesus.
Jesus calls me to something for which I’m unqualified. Peter, and three other fishermen, became evangelists and teachers. My calling will always be God-sized because no skill set can achieve supernatural results.
Jesus builds our relationship on love and promises of faithfulness. Peter’s relationship with Him began with love and it took him all the way home through great tribulation. This supernatural kind of love is also mine, burning as a fuel for my spirit.
Jesus centers His teaching on faith-growing and character development. Each life lesson in the teachings of Jesus grew Peter’s faith. As I see Peter’s progression of maturation, I realize that when I master one skill, there will always be bigger ones ahead. While there are seasons of rest, there is no coasting.
Jesus requires good faith effort, not perfection. As Kevin DeYoung reminded an audience I was part of, Jesus is pleased with our best at whatever stage we are in our journey. Jesus was Peter’s encourager, offering him a stunning second chance.
Jesus extends mercy before the sin. Jesus told Peter that he would deny him three times. When Peter was visibly shaken, Jesus told him not to be worried but to believe God. There was mercy before he sinned. I learn from that story that I am forgiven in the past, in the present, and in the future.
Jesus allows testing to reveal our flaws. Jesus was tested in the wilderness. Peter was tested after Jesus’ arrest. I am tested, too. This produces endurance, discernment, and wisdom and understanding.
Just as your relationship with Peter was unshaken, you offer me this same kind of connection. Disciple me – all the way home. Amen