Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start # 2997

Jump Start # 2997

Matthew 16:18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.”

  Here is something to consider. The Lord changes the name of Simon to Peter in our passage today. The name ‘Peter’ stands for rock, not THE rock, that’s Jesus. Peter is a stone, a pebble, a piece of gravel, nevertheless, a rock. He’s not dirt, a leaf or a twig. The church is built not upon the bumbling, clumsy, out spoken, misspoken, more times wrong than right Peter. What a messy foundation that would have been. The church is built upon the confession that Peter made, that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God. Eternal. Enduring. Powerful. Holy. Perfect. Sinless. That’s Jesus. That is THE ROCK. That’s what the church is built upon.

  But do your realize, other than here in our passage, the Lord calls Peter ‘Peter’ only one other time? The text will tell us that it’s Peter speaking or that the Lord said to Peter, but actually saying this new name, Peter, that only happens here and in Luke 22:34. There, the Lord tells Peter that he will deny the Lord three times before the cock crows. Jesus calls the disciple, ‘Peter.’ Be a rock. Be strong.

  The rest of the times Jesus uses the name ‘Simon.’ In the garden, Jesus said, “Simon, are you asleep?” In Luke’s Gospel, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.” At the end of John’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

  How interesting. Your name is Peter, but most times I’m calling you Simon. Now, was that because Peter was accustomed to the name Simon? He had grown up with that name. Or, was it because Jesus hadn’t changed any of the other names among the apostles and He didn’t want to cause some problems with jealousy and envy? Or, was it that using the name “Simon,” was a subtle reminder that he wasn’t acting very strong at the moment. You are not being a rock. You are being Simon.

  We are not told why Jesus refers to the name “Simon” more than “Peter.” After the Gospels, his name is consistently known as Peter. Throughout Acts, it’s Peter. If the preacher was to say, “Open your Bibles to the book of First Simon,” most of us wouldn’t know what he was talking about. I wouldn’t. We know him as Peter. Peter who was bold in Acts. Peter who confidently stated that he will continue to preach the name of Jesus. Peter in prison. Peter going to Cornelius. Peter writing two epistles. Peter…Peter…Peter. Yet, most times, Jesus called him Simon.

  Here are some thoughts for us:

  First, like Peter, or Simon, our faith has to grow. In those moments when our faith is young, undeveloped and immature, we make a lot of mistakes. We say things backwards. We make choices that are safe, selfish and not fully thought out. We act like Simon.

  It takes both time and effort for faith to grow. There are some positive steps we can take that will accelerate that process. The more one attends, the more one engages in Bible classes, the more one is reading God’s word on his own, the more one is purposely putting the kingdom first the faster his faith will grow. Some have been Christians for decades, yet their faith remains in the second grade. They have not move beyond the basics. And, in their walk in life, they have many “Simon” moments. Simon denying. Simon grabbing a sword. Simon not understanding.

  Second, Simon’s name doesn’t remain Simon throughout the Bible. We know this disciple as Peter. And, it is the inspiration of God that led Luke to refer to this disciple as Peter in the book of Acts. He changed. He grew. He became courageous, bold and active. He was no longer sleeping on the sidelines of life. And, like that, we too change. Some will call us Simon the rest of our lives. Some will not allow us to be who we are today. But God knows.

  Third, the good that we can do comes from a heart that is set on the kingdom of God. It is Peter who tells Christian wives how to win their unbelieving husbands. It is Peter who warns of false teachers. It is Peter who tells us what happens when Jesus comes. It is Peter who displays the role of the shepherd in the church.  What is commonly called the “Christian Virtues,” comes from Peter. It is in Peter’s letters that we understand that Paul’s writings were considered “scripture” long before any council made that decree.

  Peter the rock. Peter the courageous. Peter, a long way from that man Simon. God saw something in that disciple. Jesus knew what He was doing when He called Simon, “Peter.” And, as you and I continue our journey with the Lord, we ought to put some distance away from the times we were “Simon.” It is time for us to be strong, courageous, confident and busy in the kingdom. The call is not for more Simons, but more Peters.

  You are Peter. You are Peter, now act that way. You are Peter, now believe that. You are Peter, because I have called you that.

  Simon-Peter…interesting thought, isn’t it?