Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 30, 2012

"Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ" II Peter 1:1

Not only does Peter identify himself as a "servant of Jesus Christ" - which IS significant - but notice that he signs in using two names, "Simon Peter".
In the Jewish culture names were significant. Unlike today when children are often named after a sports celebrity or entertainment star, in those days the name was given according to some prominent characteristic of the child.
You may remember that when he dropped his nets and left his boats to begin following Jesus he was known by the name "Simon". The name "Simon" means "shifting sand". If you know very much about Peter you will understand why that name was appropriate.
When he identifies himself by his given name he is acknowledging the way he was when he began to follow Jesus. He was weak and inconsistent in his new found faith. One moment he would get it right and the next moment he would be fall flat on his face.
Maybe you can relate to that. I sure can!
But Simon received a name change. Here is how it happened:
But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." Matthew 16:15-18
When Peter began to understand Who Jesus really was, it began a dramatic change in his life and Jesus recognizing that change marked it in a pretty big way - He changed Simon's name to "Peter". "Peter" means "rock". So you could say, his name changed from "Sandy" to "Rocky". As you recall that a name reflects the character or nature of a person you see what a significant change that was!
Let me mention a couple of significant insights about Jesus in this story. First, Jesus sees your potential long before you do! Peter was far from being a rock when Jesus changed his name to "Rock". Second, Jesus patiently empowers you until you become the "rock" He knows you can be! Jesus believed in Peter when Peter doubted himself. Even when Peter betrayed Jesus, Jesus never doubted Peter. And sure enough, Peter become not only a rock but he became a foundation upon which the Church was built! Once he got his eye on the prize, everything changed!
It may seem like a small or even insignificant that the Great Apostle opens his second letter with the
moniker "Simon Peter". But since the Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit, EVERYHING is significant and the significance of using both names was to glorify God by recognizing His transfomational power!
Like Peter, you may be a believer in transition. You may be changing from shifting sand to a rock. I want to encourage you to keep your eye on the prize. I want to remind you that God believes in your potential even more than you do and He promised you an new name:
"I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.  The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches."  Revelation 3:11-13
Hang tough, Rocky! Keep your eye on the Prize!