1 Peter 1:7 says, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
We talk about Peter’s character growth in this first part of a few part series. We will be discussing the different ways Peter grew in spiritual character in Christ Jesus. Here in this part, we will talk about the background of Peter.
- Simon: who people knew him to be and who he though he was.
- Peter: who he was as a Christian – somewhat still carnal.
- Cephas: who God desired him to be: stable, steadfast, and reliable.
Lessons from his naming:
- We have an idea of who we think we are.
- We are a person that others know us to be.
- We can become that which God desires us to be.
Peter appeared to be interested in becoming a fisher of men, instead of being a fisherman as he was – to which, this was a calling from God to use his skills of fishing in ministry, so that he may help transform people and distribute His Word. He received in-person training from Jesus Himself, which had to not only be humbling, but also rigorous (positive kind of rigorous, but rough nonetheless). This showed that Peter was drawn to God’s Call through Jesus.
He learned to trust Jesus in several accounts:We see in Luke 5:4-11, Jesus was telling Peter to drop his net(s) in, and he protested that they were fishing all night, however, Peter trusted anyway – and by doing so, they reaped a bountiful harvest. In addition, in Matthew 14:22-33, Jesus is seen walking on the water. The water was tossing the ship the Disciples were on, and they became fearful when they saw Jesus. Peter wondered if he should come to Jesus, and Jesus allowed him and gave him the power to walk on the water, but then the wind became boisterous, and Peter lost his faith as he thought he would fall in. Jesus said to him, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Through this, it caused the Disciples to worship Him, exalting Him as truly the Son of God.
In the former, Peter is the impetuous, courageous, restless, flamboyant, ambitious of challenges and power; and in the latter, we see him patient, restful, forbearing, trustful, loving, and with the old buoyancy and courage purified, and the different it makes in his ways. Simon Peter, in the former, saw his Lord transfigured; and in the latter, Cephas, is transfigured by the boundless grace of God. The crude, tactless, ill mannered, brash, brassy, stumbling, disobedient, and offending Disciple was retrained through Jesus’ lessons, in that he held Jesus as precious to him.
Simon was the one that needed a lesson of faith (as in the ship incident), because it didn’t seem as if James and John had any problems believing Jesus, however, Peter did, as he questioned Jesus when He said drop in the nets. When Jesus chose us to be His Disciples, He stepped in to our ship, and taught us how to have faith, and that through simple acts of faith, we will reap a bountiful harvest – and though we may toil all night, joy shall arise in the morning!
It seems that through some of the different ways of Jesus teaching him to have faith; it seems Peter continually needs to be brought under subjection, because of his carnal ways. Jesus teaches him, however, to be more firm, to which, is done through the marvelous works of Jesus. At first, he didn’t trust Jesus’ word, because he claimed that they toiled all night for fish but to no avail. Through risking it, Peter cast the net anyway, and reaped a harvest. Dropped to his knees before Jesus, saying that he was a sinful man, for he is astonished at the Lord’s power (to which, he could not believe). Peter has fear, but Jesus calms him, telling him his call from God to be fishers of men.
Later, Peter is called Cephas, which means, “a stone.” This is prophesying his call further from God. His soul would be strong, unyielding, and firm in purpose. Cephas is defined as, “strong, bold, stable, grounded, converted.” Later, in his writings, we see Peter learning many different lessons in his journey of “discipleship” – to which, he calls the trial of our faith more precious than gold that perishes even when tried by fire (1 Peter 1:7), acknowledges Jesus as the precious cornerstone over all of us lively stones (1 Peter 2:4-7), and recognizing the problems of the lust of the world and being converted away from them (2 Peter 1:4). Lastly, he was concerned for his faith, and prayed for it that it would not fail (1 Peter 5:10-11).