One of the striking things about Jesus’s ministry is that He chose a group of men to train and teach, with the end goal that they would go preach His message. During those days he went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God. When daylight came, he summoned his disciples, and he chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Luke 6:12-13 (CSB). They were an interesting mix with widely different backgrounds, temperaments, and even politics. But we can learn some important things about how to follow Jesus from each of them. We’ll start by looking at how we can follow like Peter.
His given name was Simon, which was pretty common name. His father’s name was John, often written Jona. He was from Capernaum and he was a fisherman. He resolutely proclaimed the gospel in Acts, served as the primary source for Mark’s gospel and wrote two heartfelt epistles to persecuted believers. Peter gets more mention than the other disciples, so we are more familiar with him and the things he said and did, both the good and the bad. Let’s focus on a few of his good traits.
Peter was bold.
He was never one to hang back and see what someone else was going to do before he acted. When Jesus asked a question, he had an answer. Sometimes he was breathtakingly profound like in Matthew 16:16-18 where he declared Jesus was the Christ the Son of the living God. But then a few sentences later Jesus called Peter Satan because he wanted to prevent Jesus’s sacrificial death.
He wasn’t just bold with his words either. In Matthew 14:28-29, he walked on water. At the last supper, he promised to stand and die with Jesus, and as proof of his commitment, he hacked off a guy’s ear in the garden.
If we are going to follow like Peter, we need to be bold, too. If that’s not your personality, (and it’s not mine) we do have some resources available to us. In Acts 4:29, Peter prayed for boldness. And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that your servants may speak your word with all boldness.
Peter was willing to change when he was wrong.
In Acts 10, God uses a vision to explain to Peter that the gospel needed to go to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. In Acts 11, he defends his mission and asserts that there is no difference among believers.
To follow like Peter, we have to be willing to change directions when God shows us we’re wrong. And we have to understand it may take more than one try. Peter wrestled with this Gentile thing after these events, but he kept working on it.
Peter was passionate.
In Luke 5:8 when he saw the miraculous haul of fish, he fell on his knees before Jesus and declared, “Depart from me. I am a sinful man.” In Mark 9:5, he is super excited to witness Jesus’s transfiguration and the appearance of Moses and Elijah. When Peter denied Christ, Luke 22:62 says he wept bitterly. In John 21:7, when he realized the risen Lord was on the shore, he jumped into the water to get to Jesus more quickly. When Jesus talked with him about those denials, John 21:17 says he was grieved by the questions.
If we’re going to follow like Peter, we can’t be indifferent to Christ. If we’re more passionate about our sports team, our diet and exercise routine, politics, or social issues, our energy is misplaced.
Peter wasn’t perfect. We know that. The gospel writers don’t shy away from showing his faults. In Galatians 2, Paul discusses a confrontation he had with Peter and Peter was at fault. However, most of us would do well to follow like Peter.
Think of your own walk with Christ.
Where do you need some extra boldness?
Is there something you need to change?
Or do you need to be more passionate about Christ and your commitment to Him?
We’ll follow the order in Luke 6:14-16 so next up is Simon’s younger brother Andrew.