Summary: There are a lot of things that we can learn from Peter. This morning though I want to ask you to be reminded of just one thing. What transformed Peter from an unstable man into a man of courage? The grace of God and the power of the resurrection!
Transformed By Grace, Acts 2:14a, 22-32
During the first and second centuries, the symbol of Christianity was the fish. A present-day Christian decided that a fishhook would be the proper emblem for a soul-winner to use for winning people to Christ, so he had a little golden fishhook made to be worn on the lapel of his coat.
When people asked him what it meant, he told them that he was a fisher of men. A little newsboy from whom he bought a paper one day said to him, “Mister, do you belong to a fishing club?” “Yes, I do,” said the Christian, “and I think fishing is pretty nice, don’t you?” “Oh yes,” the little fellow replied, “Do you ever catch any big ones?” “I have caught 250 pounders,” replied the man.
“Go on!” said the lad incredulously. “Yes,” said the Christian, “I have caught a 250-pound fish.” “Those sure are big,” marveled the boy. Then leaning over, the Christian said, “Sonny, to tell you the truth, I would rather catch small fish than big ones.” He exclaimed. “No!” “Yes, about your size.” The little boy looked down at himself as if he were thinking, “I am not so small.”
Then the Christian told him that he was a fisher of men, seeking to win souls, and that if he would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ he would be saved. The newsboy took him at his word and came to Christ.
Here was a fisherman for Christ who used a gold fishhook on his lapel to catch souls with. You may have some other kind of hook. It makes no difference as long as you catch fish.
This morning I want to talk to you about a Galilean fisherman named Peter who was transformed by Christ from life as a simple harvester of fish into the Apostle Peter – a great fisher of men for Jesus Christ!
We will do this by tracing the nature of this transformation that occurred in Peter’s life as it is recorded in the Bible. We’ll talk about the way that Peter was changed from a naturally impulsive disciple of Jesus into an immovable rock.
As we travel this road this morning I want to encourage you to look for ways in which you can identify with Peter as he grew in his faith and courage; just as we must be ever growing in our faith and courage to be fishers of men.
In Matthew 4:18-20 it says, “And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” (NKJV)
This is the first place in the New Testament where Peter shows up in the Gospel record. It is interesting to note that all the Gospel account gives us concerning the call of Peter, and other disciples, is the impression that Jesus merely told them to follow Him and the disciples simply dropped their nets or whatever they were doing and followed after Him.
While the idea that this was the first time they had ever seen Jesus and they were simply moved to follow after Him because Jesus had such an immediate appeal. While that is certainly possible; a plain reading of the text does allow for that. I think that it is more likely that Peter and the other Disciples had either already heard the preaching of Jesus or at least heard of the preaching of Jesus.
It is also very possible that the men who would one day become the Disciples of Christ had heard the preaching of John the Baptist. Whether the Disciples had heard Jesus, heard of Jesus, or perhaps had heard the preaching of John the Baptist the simple fact remains that Peter and his brother Andrew followed Jesus that day.
Early in his vocation as a Disciple, Peter was impulsive. In Matthew 14:28-31 is recorded the account of the disciples being terrified because they thought they had seen a ghost walking on the water. After Jesus told them that it was in fact Him walking on the water it reads;
“And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (NKJV)