Summary: This is the 1st sermon in the "Getting Acquainted With The 12 Apostles" series.
Series: Getting Acquainted With The 12 Apostles [#1]
THE MAN WHO BECAME A ROCK
In this series, we are going to study the characteristics of the 12 Apostles. I want you to take the good and the bad from each Apostle’s life and use it to make good decisions in your life. Tonight, we are going to look at Simon Peter. He was a man that had a mixture of strength and weakness, of courage and cowardice, of faith and doubt, and of wisdom and foolishness. Galileans, like Peter, were known for being quick-tempered, quarrelsome, impulsive, courageous, emotional, and lovers of adventure. Peter was a fisherman who left his nets to follow Christ.
Mark 1:16-17 (NIV)
16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
John 1:42 (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).
He was married and lived in Capernaum. Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law. Peter was the leader of the Apostles. Peter was not the kind of leader most of us want today. He was not popular. Peter had 4 names. He was called Simon and Matthew calls him Simon, called Peter. He was also called Simeon. Remember that Jesus gave him a new name- Peter. The Greek and Aramaic word for Peter is Cephas. Most people had 2 names in that day- Their name in their own language and their Greek name, since everyone spoke Greek. We see that Jesus called him “a rock.”
1. How Peter began his life with Jesus.
Although, Jesus called Peter a rock, he was far from it, (especially at the beginning). A rock is firmly set- Solid, immovable, and silent. Peter shifted easily and was never silent. Peter had many weaknesses and made many mistakes. In Simon’s becoming a rock, we see how far God’s love will go in molding a life.
He talked too much. The 1st time Jesus foretold His coming death by the way of a cross, Peter was horrified and protested loudly. Jesus rebuked him. Peter was a loudmouth.
He was overconfident. Peter’s overconfidence and pride are evidences of his weakness.
Peter misunderstood the way of Christ. As one of the soldiers went to take Jesus, Peter pulled his sword and cut off the soldier’s ear. Peter was probably not aiming at his ear, but his head. What courage and strength. Yet Jesus rebuked him because he misunderstood the ways of the Kingdom.
Peter was impulsive. Peter quickly goes from one extreme to the other. John outran Peter to the tomb, but when they got to the mouth of the tomb, John stopped; but not Peter, he went right in. Peter was like so many of us- 1 day we are on the mountain top, the next day we are in the valley. Jesus called Peter a rock, but Peter seemed to be more like clay- So weak, impulsive, changeable, and full of faults. How did he grow and develop into a rock?
2. How Peter matured in Christ.
Negatively, we can say 3 things. Peter became a rock because he did not become offended by a strong rebuke. Peter did not let a failure ruin him. Peter failed, but he did not let it ruin him, he came back. Peter did not quit because of disappointment. Peter thought Jesus would be a great earthly King, one that overthrew the Roman Empire. He was disappointed, but he did not quit.
Positively, we can give some reasons that Peter became a rock. Peter completely dedicated himself to God. Peter passed the love test. He promised to be true and to shepherd the flock. Peter gave everything he had in the service of God. After he was filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, he held nothing back. Peter preached the message of God, and 3000 were saved. Peter was courageous in the midst of opposition. When Peter and John were arrested and warned not to preach again, or they would be killed, they went back out saying “We ought to obey God rather than man.” Peter was courageous. Peter was a man of missionary vision. In Acts 10 we see him opening the door of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Peter laid down his life for Christ. According to tradition, he died as a martyr for his faith. Tradition teaches his death came by crucifixion upside down in Rome.
As Peter, a man of clay with evident weaknesses became a rock of strength by following Christ, so we can become strong, secure disciples.