There has been a stirring question in my mind ever since writing last week’s blog about the rooster moments that Peter, Jesus’ disciple, had as he denied Christ. The question I have is,
“What made Peter so great that he was the one Jesus picked to be the foundation of his church?”
The man who denied Christ is the very same man who Christ spoke to and said, “you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”
Jesus spoke this gargantuan promise to Peter. Can you imagine what that must have felt like? How humbled he must have been knowing that only days prior he denied even knowing Jesus. How can this be? Still, it didn’t seem clear to me.
In this short proclamation of Jesus donning Peter as the rock, the foundation of the church, several questions arise for me to pique my curious heart. How and what made Peter “the One” Jesus chose?
How can it be that a man who with such ease denied the very man who called him, walked with him and taught him is the chosen one? Peter denied the chosen one, Jesus, yet the chosen one chose him. I needed to dig further.
In order to satisfy these lingering questions I needed to backwards and take a look at Peter’s history. In short, his patterns were very sporadic, highs and lows, extreme faith, followed by doubt. In the series of scriptures listed below you can read his vacillation between “faith” and “doubt”. He was not a picture of idyllic leadership by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, he was chosen.
Here is what Peter, the rock who Jesus chose to build his church is made of:
- Calling: “He appointed the Twelve: To Simon, he gave the name Peter.” Mark 3:16
- Hard Worker: “As he was walking along the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter), and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea – for they were fisherman.” Matthew 4:18
- Faith: Walking on water; Matthew 14:28-30
- Doubt: Sinking in the water: Matthew 14:31
- Deep Love: “Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and feet.’” John 13:9
- Denial: Peter denied Christ three times; John 18:25-27
- Repentant Heart: “When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, because I’m a sinful man’” Luke 5:8
- Submissive: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16
Jesus chose him despite his extreme tendencies. Maybe Jesus knew it was Peter’s faith AND his doubt would be the very substance the people of the church would be able to relate to. It would be Peter’s personal transformation that would draw others. Maybe it was Peter’s constant need for his anchor Jesus that would lead him to be wholly dependent on Christ.
Peter was in need of an anchor. Not only for his ship but for the currents, rip tides and constant storms he faced in this life as a believer.
On the one hand the question is, “what is Peter made of.” And then on the other hand, there is a notion that Christ makes very clear – he, himself, is the one who is responsible for the outcome of the growth of the church. He makes it clear when he says, “I will build my church”.
Peter was not responsible for the growth of the church. Peter was responsible to show up – bumps, bruises, doubt and all – to be a vessel, usable for the Kingdom of God.
This to me is the critical and essential hinge of truth that we can easily gloss over. We see Jesus making Peter his choice. As the choice, Peter is the vessel. Just the vessel. He has the choice to show up. To be obedient. To preach the good news of the Gospel. It really comes down to that. It’s that simple.
Being “chosen” is an invitation to accept being used as a vessel. But the outcome is God’s.
What if Jesus was saying to you…”upon _______________ (your name) I will build my marketing platform, manufacturing company, restaurant, accounting firm, consulting services, ministry, home, school or realty office?
Chances are, you are like Peter, and you can look back over your life and think, “seriously! Me??” I don’t know what God is calling you to, but I do know, if you are willing to listen, he is calling you to something.
He has gifted, equipped, enabled, and opened doors for you to be a vessel for his glory. Your swaying from Faith to Fear, from Hope to hopelessness, from fiery to subdued all of these are the building blocks – foundation stones of a strong faith, a usable faith.
When it came down to it when all was said and done and Jesus needed to pick someone to lead the charge to grow the church. Jesus leaned on Peter – the rock – because this rock, Peter, was made of the key ingredients: doubt, denial, faith, deep love, repentant heart, submission, calling and hard-working. Jesus needed a humble & moldable vessel.
What are you made of? How will God use the crucial substance of your life for His kingdom and to advance His church?
Resource Share: Beth Moore, Entrusted Bible Study. Study of 2 Timothy.
Don’t forget to get your copy of my 8-week Devotional, Ascent to Know Him: The Quest to Discover More of God E-book and Paperback available!