Summary: Peter’s character flaw was "I can do all things." Until he knew to place his life totally in Christ’s hands, he was the embodiment of the Peter Principle.
OPEN: I recently heard a radio announcer tell about a man who went through a drive up at a KFC restaurant. He ordered about $6 worth of food and then pulled up to give his money to the teller. He handed her a $200 bill. It had President George Bush’s picture on the front and on the back was a picture of a vegetable with the words beneath it declaring "I hate broccoli!" She took the bill and gave him his food and exact change. He drove away, apparently never to be seen again. (For the record, there are no $200 bills and no US legitimate currency has the picture of President George Bush - let alone broccoli - on it."
By contrast, this is a $20 bill (hold one up, and explain some of its characteristics). If I were to offer this to you, who would want this $20 bill? Let’s say I were to do this (crumple the bill into a tight ball) would you still want it? What if I did this (throw the $20 on the floor and stomp on it)? How many of you would still want it?
APPLY: Most of you would be willing to have me give you this $20 bill, no matter what it’s condition, because you know it has a value that doesn’t depend on how it looks. You know that it’s value is more than appearance - it has real worth.
I. Years ago, Laurence J. Peter visited several corporations and studied some of their management characteristics. As a result, he came up with a maxim he called "The Peter Principle." The Peter Principle roughly said this: A person is hired by a company and does a good job. Somebody notices his competence and he is promoted to a higher level of responsibility. He does a good job there as well and is elevated another notch in the corporation. This happens again and again. But eventually the individual is promoted to a position that they can’t handle. They are promoted to a point where they are incompetent. And once they reach that level of incompetence, they are no longer useful to the company. They no longer have value.
The World’s evaluates people based on a kind of Peter Principle: people are regarded as valuable based upon good looks, intelligence, personality, wealth, and so on. But sooner or later many people reach a point in their lives when they are no longer useful by those standards.
By contrast, (when it comes to value of people) God has a different attitude than world does. God looks less at what the world considers valuable than on what He knows lies within them (their inner worth).
ILLUS: A Philosopher named Haserot, once observed Dutch housewives wrapping their household belongings in pieces of canvas. Upon closer examination he discovered that the women were wrapping their goods in actual paintings by the Dutch artist Rembrandt.
These women saw a value in the canvas based upon its usefulness to them.
But they missed the canvas’ true worth, because they didn’t understand inner value of paintings
God told the prophet Samuel: The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1Sa 16:7
The world focuses on outward thing: what you’re good at, how attractive you are, who you know. God focuses on the heart: potential that lies within.
II. That brings us to our text: John 1:40-42. We’re introduced here to a man named Simon.
Now, I want you to see Simon the way the world saw Simon - he was useful.
This was a man who was a skilled fisherman
* he knew boats
* he knew nets
* he knew the sea
* he knew fish.
He was a man’s man
* highly opinionated.
AND amongst his circle of companions he’d have been a leader. Peter was a useful person. He contributed to his community.
But now, here is Andrew bringing his brother Simon to Jesus. It doesn’t say anywhere that Andrew gets the chance to say: "Jesus, this is my brother Simon." The 1st words that are uttered are by Jesus: "You’re Simon."
It is as if Jesus were saying: "I know who you are. I know you’re a skilled fisherman, a man’s man, a leader among your peers… BUT then Jesus says: "You shall be called Cephas"
Jesus not only knew who Simon was, Jesus also knew who Simon could be (potential within) and Jesus gave Simon a new name that reflected what Jesus saw as Peter’s inner quality.
It’s intriguing. Whenever God wants to do something special in person’s life, he often gives them new name.
1. Abram becomes Abraham
2. Jacob renamed Israel