The twelve apostles included "Simon, who is called Peter" (Matt. 10:2).
Jesus can make an impulsive and vacillating Christian as stable as a rock.
The first disciple Matthew's gospel names is "Simon, who is called Peter" (Matt. 10:2). He was a fisherman by trade but Jesus called him to be a fisher of men. John 1:40-42 records their first encounter: "One of the two who heard John [the Baptist] speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He found first his own brother Simon, and . . . brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, 'You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas' (which translated means Peter)."
"Peter" means "stone." "Cephas" is its Aramaic equivalent. By nature Simon tended to be impulsive and vacillating. Apparently Jesus named him Peter as a reminder of his future role in the church, which would require spiritual strength and stability. Whenever Peter acted like a man of strength, Jesus called him by his new name. When he sinned, Jesus called him by his old name (e.g., John 21:15-17). In the gospel of John, Peter is called "Simon Peter" seventeen times. Perhaps John knew Peter so well he realized he was always drifting somewhere between sinful Simon and spiritual Peter.
For the next few days we will see how Jesus worked with Peter to transform him into a true spiritual rock. It was an amazing transformation, but not unlike what He desires to do in every believer's life.
You might not have the same personality as Peter, but the Lord wants you to be a spiritual rock just the same. Peter himself wrote, "You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 2:5). That occurs as you "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18). Make that your continual aim.
Suggestions for Prayer
List the areas of your Christian walk that are inconsistent or vacillating. Make them a matter of earnest prayer, asking God for wisdom and grace as you begin to strengthen them.
For Further Study
First Peter was written to Christians in danger of severe persecution. Read that epistle, noting the keys to spiritual stability that Peter gives.
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.
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