God has called us all to be like a rock: strong, immovable, something that others can stand and build upon. Like the Apostle Peter, none of us start out there. God always finds us in a hard place and calls us to follow Him. We live most of our life between the rock that God calls us to be and the hard place that we came from. We can look to the example of Peter’s life to see how he reached that potential that Jesus saw in him. Peter was introduced to Jesus by his brother Andrew. After the initial introduction Peter went back to the family fishing business in Galilee. He worked with his brother Andrew and partnered with James and John. Jesus began His public ministry by returning to His homeland and teaching throughout the villages around the sea of Galilee.
When Jesus challenged people to follow Him, He didn’t call those who were qualified by man’s standards. He called them based on their potential and their desire to pursue Him. Jesus eventually selected twelve from a large group of followers so that He could personally mentor them. On a couple of occasions early on in their relationship Jesus told Simon, one of the twelve, that he would be called “Cephas.” Cephas is an Aramaic word, translated into the Greek language it means “Peter” or “a rock.” Up until that point nobody had ever been named Peter. Simon certainly didn’t start out as a rock. In fact, Jesus never called him by the name Peter while He lived on the Earth.
For the first several months Peter followed Jesus’ ministry, He would listen to His teaching and witnessed many of the miracles Jesus performed. In fact, one of the miracles was the healing of Peter’s own mother-in-law. However, Peter was still attached to his old life and spent most of his days fishing and followed Jesus from a distance. Jesus showed up on the shore one morning as Peter was wrapping up an entire night of fishing. A crowd followed behind and Jesus decided to stop and teach them. He borrowed Peter’s boat and stood in it a little ways from shore as He taught. When He was finished speaking Jesus told Peter to let down his nets for a catch of fish. Peter had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. Yet he let down one net just to humor Jesus. When he did, the net filled up with so many fish that Peter couldn’t lift it. He called his partners from other boats and when they finally got the net aboard, the boat began to sink. Realizing that pursuing his worldly ambitions was a sinking career (pun intended), Peter confessed his sin to Jesus. He immediately left his nets, the boat full of fish, and his past behind to follow Jesus permanently. This was the first step to becoming the rock that God called him to be. He confessed his sin and left everything to follow Christ. Being a disciple of Christ does not require the absence of sin, but it does require the admission of sin. Many people follow Christ from a distance and never become a disciple because they try to justify their sin rather than crucify their sin.
From this point forward Peter was in a passionate pursuit of the face of Christ. He was on his way to becoming the leader of Christ’s followers. He gained understanding every chance he could. This understanding caused him to become strong in faith. This strong faith enable him to walk on the waves of a stormy sea. The next defining moment in Peter’s life came when Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was. Peter was quick to proclaim, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” This revelation was not taught him by man or told to him by Jesus. Peter’s understanding of who Jesus was the result of personal revelation that came from his prayer time with the Father. Peter has progressed from following Jesus, to obeying Jesus, to proclaiming Jesus to those closest to him. This is the true process of discipleship. Many people profess to be followers of Christ, but never proclaim Christ. Peter followed, obeyed, served, and proclaimed Christ. Now he was ready to be empowered and released.
Jesus said because of this, He would give Peter the keys of the kingdom. The ability to unlock the kingdom of heaven and the gates of hell that holds back the deeper revelations of God. Peter’s proclamation was the result of deep convictions. If we want God to give us the authority of His kingdom, we need to grow in our convictions. When Peter focused on the face of Christ, he could do the impossible. When he took his eyes off of Christ he began to sink. It is that way with all of our lives. 85% of people in America profess to be Christ followers, but studies show that less than a quarter of those are disciples of Christ. Peter eventually became the leader of the New Testament church. He was the first to preach to a crowd, the first to lead a multitude to Christ, and the first to bring healing to the sick. He became so strong in God that even his shadow brought healing to people. God has called you too to be a rock. It may seem right now like you are in a hard place, but if you continue in a passionate pursuit of Christ you will get there. You too will begin to unlock the powers of the kingdom of heaven.