Archive for category Simon Peter
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me! Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matt 14:28-31)
My Dear Peter Bjorn,
You will always live your life pulled in two directions, two worlds, two realities. On the one hand, you will be invited to live in the reality of the Kingdom of God — reality defined by the Creator who can bend the rules at will. On the other hand, you have been born into the 21st century American culture. You will be bombarded throughout your life with the values, beliefs, goals and purposes of the so-called “American Way”, and tempted to pursue the so-called American Dream.
Beware, Peter Bjorn. The American Way is is paved with empty idols, false promises, an obsession with self and a terrible lack of adventure. As a culture, we are obsessed with safety, conformity to the status quo, and are quite risk-averse. Oh, and we settle for far less than the kind of abundant life that Jesus offers to us (John 10:10).
Your daddy was in college, preparing to chase the American Dream, get a practical degree so he could get a good-paying job to buy the house with the picket fence, and raise a family trying to “keep up with the Jones’s.” But God had different plans. I encountered the God who is anything but safe and tame. I found my life swept up into a far more exciting story than the life promised by the American Dream.
Your daddy became a real disciple of Jesus during college at Bethel. Soon the priorities and desires of my life changed radically. I no longer found the American Dream that compelling. I saw many people working around the clock, accumulating more stuff, living in the big houses, driving the nice cars, living in the suburbs — and many of them still feeling unhappy and unfulfilled.
Meanwhile, I began to make choices that seems odd and impractical to the watching world. I changed my major to study the Bible not knowing how I would earn a living. I started investing my time in serving and helping people (e.g.,working with inner city teens, youth ministry, etc.). I soon found myself preparing for vocational ministry.
What does any of this have to do with Simon Peter walking on water? Well, my dear Peter Bjorn, your dad and mom don’t want you to pursue a safe life chasing after stuff and just getting by. We want you to experience “life on the divine edge of God’s activity” (Erwin McManus). We want you experience the same wild and unpredictable God we read about in Scripture. We want you to come to know personally the God who parts the Red Sea, calms storms miraculously, appears out of no where from a burning bush, heals the lame, multiplies loaves, walks on water and raises the dead! Read the rest of this entry »
Dear Peter Bjorn,
There were many names popular in Jesus’ day. Simon was on the top of the boy list for sure. Likewise, there were the popular names of 2011 when you were born. The top five were:
1. Jacob 2. Ethan 3. Michael 4. Jayden 5. William
I checked, and Peter didn’t even make the top 100 names of 2011. Even Sebastian was more popular than your name!
Now, the neat thing about the name ‘Peter’ in Jesus’ day is that it was not a name at all. There is no record of anybody being named ‘Peter’ — which was simply the common Greek word, ‘petros’, meaning “stone” or “rock.”
So, we have here a story of Jesus, God in human flesh, giving Simon a new, unique nickname “The Rock.” “You are Simon son of John. You will be called called ‘Rock.’”
Simon is one of only a few people who Jesus gave special nicknames to — and now you share this special name, Peter — “the Rock.” The other was the nickname given to James and John — ‘Boanerges,’ which means Sons of Thunder.
I think that’s a great honor. I hope you do, too.
Now, Jesus had a special reason for giving Simon the nickname “The Rock.” It was symbolic of the kind of leadership role and character qualities Simon would strive to exhibit in his life. More on that later.
For now, remember that you carry a special nickname chosen by our Lord and given to a foundational leader of the early church movement. Be proud.
Peter said, “Master, I’m ready for anything with you. I’d go to jail for you. I’d die for you!” Jesus said, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Peter, but before the rooster crows you will have three times denied that you know me.” (Luke 22:33-34)
Dear Peter Bjorn,
The first thing you should know about your daddy, your mommy, your extended family, and the church is that we are all broken people. We are all marred by sinfulness deep within our hearts. Left to our own devices, we would all be in a world of trouble. We all are “works in progress,” and require patience as we grow into the people God wants us to be.
The first thing you should know about the God who created you is that He is a God of GRACE. He loves us as we are, even in our rebellion and sin. He doesn’t wait for us to get our act together to draw near to us. No, he extends his love and grace to us while we are yet running away from Him. ”While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5). God is patient with us as he moulds us into people who more and more reflect his son Jesus.
Nobody in the Bible illustrates this “work in progress” reality better than Simon Peter. He is as human as it gets. He is as ordinary and flawed as anybody. As you read about Simon Peter in the Bible you will discover that God is fond of using ordinary people to accomplish his work in the world. (If you need further proof, consider your daddy.) Read the rest of this entry »
When I was a teenager I met another Peter who turned out to be a lot like Simon Peter in the Bible. We would become the best of friends, as we are still today.
There’s a scene in John 1 where Simon Peter’s brother Andrew has a powerful encounter with Jesus, and then we’re told, “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus” (John 1:41-42).
What Andrew did for Simon Peter, my new friend would do for me. My friend Peter came to know Jesus in a real and powerful way quite young, and he was not shy about telling others around him that “We have found the Messiah” and, like Andrew above, bringing others to a knowledge of him.
My friend Peter loved Jesus a lot. While many of us typical middle schoolers were trying to be cool and befriend the popular kids, Peter was making Jesus his best friend. This did not make Peter the most popular kid in school. It often had the opposite effect. Peter invited his friends to overnight lock-ins where they heard about Jesus. Many times in high school Peter organized Bible Studies with our friends. One time he organized a large paintball event in the neighborhood woods, and afterwards invited a large crowd of unbelievers into the house for pizza and to hear about Jesus. Later in high school, Peter helped start a weekly Bible study with a bartender at a golf club.
Most significantly, my friend Peter began inviting me to Church of the Open Door where I first began hearing the Bible teaching of Pastor David Johnson which was pivotal in my own spiritual transformation.
Dear Peter Bjorn, I have been blessed with a best friend who loves Jesus passionately, wants to put God first in his life, live according to the teachings of Jesus, and is someone who holds me accountable in my own walk of faith. Such friends are a rare gift today. I hope and pray you will find such a friend to help guide you down the path of righteousness.
To honor the significant role my friend Peter has played in my life, I have given you his name. You should be proud of your name, and the shoes you get to fill. I can’t wait for you to get to know Peter as you grow up.
“Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
Dear Peter Bjorn,
I want to introduce you to two very special people — so special that we named you after them. The first is Simon Peter. He was one of Jesus’ original disciples — and one of the first Jesus called to be a full-time disciple of his.
Peter, along with James and John, made up Jesus’ inner circle. They had a special glimpse into the things of God, and among this inner circle, Peter often acted as leader and spokesperson. His name heads every list of the Twelve in the New Testament. Peter was passionately devoted to Jesus, and claimed that he would never deny him, and promised to fight to protect Jesus from any harm.
In fact, you might say that if Jesus had a best friend on earth, it was most likely Peter. After Jesus called him to leave his fishing business and devote his life to the ministry of the Kingdom, Peter seemed to never leave Jesus’ side. He was never more than a step behind, covered in the dust that Jesus’ sandals kicked up. Went Jesus was walking up a hill and stopped abruptly, Peter’s nose probably bumped into his butt. He vowed to follow Jesus anywhere.
Good disciples want to mimic and copy the every move of their rabbi, and Peter seemed to have taken this to an extreme level one time while out at sea. All the disciples were shocked and scared when they saw their rabbi Jesus walking on the water out at sea. But Peter must have thought, “If Jesus walks on the waves, then I want to do it too.” And so Peter gave it a shot. We all know how it ended. He didn’t take long to start doubting and sinking, but at least he was the only disciple willing to go that far in following Jesus.
Dear Peter Bjorn, as you grow up and choose your friends, there are many people who will lead you down the wrong path. The apostle Paul said that “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Cor. 15:33). We hope you’ll surround yourself with friends who follow Jesus. Most of all, we pray you’ll follow the example of Simon Peter and make Jesus your best friend. We pray you following him in every thing you do and say. We hope you never leave his side — for we know Jesus will never leave yours. So, Peter Bjorn, who will your best friends be in the years to come?
Next time I’ll tell you about the other special person you’re named after: my best friend Peter.
This post and those to follow are inspired, in part, by Michael Card’s book “Peter: The Fragile Stone.” See video below: