The Making of an Apostle:
Peter Still Speaks
By Bob Slosser
- Fifteen or so years ago, I took an especially close look at Peter and
his writings, at least those we have preserved as an important part of the New
Testament. You know what I found on first glance? A reed. Yes ... reed who was
changed into a rock. Since he was at first just like most of us: the people
I encounter in the church, then it seems logical we can become just like him
"like a rock," as the Chevy pickup sings in the TV commercial.
Ive often wondered why Gloria (thats my wife) recently gave me a bright
red, shiny, toy pickup truck labeled Chevrolet. I think shes hoping Ill
one day turn into a rock (Id better hurry up). Although Im not sure she
thinks of me as a reed, which the dictionary says is the stem of a tall, slender,
flowing, plume-like grass growing in wet, marshy land. I may look more like
a red truck, I dont know. I better understand the meaning of reed that relates
to a saxophone, having played a mean tenor in yonder years (far, far yonder,
I reckon). Ive always wondered what people really intend when they say "mean
tenor" or "mean trumpet" (I was such a mild, little kid).
Anyhow, folks, Peter the apostle definitely became a rock, which means more
than hard-headed. He became strong, solid definitely one of the good guys.
He could carry a big load and was good for the long haul, not easy to frighten
(after Pentecost, that is). Id like to become like him, even though most
of the good guys in my circle talk more about St. Pauls writings than St.
The Biblical account introduces us to Peter through his brother, Andrew,
sometime after Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist (John 1:35-42, RSV).
In a bit of weak grammar (hows that for audacity regarding the Word of God?)
the Bible says, "he [Andrew] brought him [Peter] to Jesus." Proper
grammar says the verb should be took not brought (that section has other similar
problems, which, of course, are not the end of the world, are they? At ease,
ye translators and publishers of ye Bible; young John may have written it
that way). The significant fact is that good, ol Andrew ran and got Peter
before following when invited to follow Jesus.
Remember, Jesus was just going public, so to speak. He looked at Peter, and
dont forget, the Son of God had a way of looking at folks that was more than
just an ordinary look or even a stare. They knew they were being looked at
apparently (reflect on that as you look toward going to heaven and meeting
Right away Jesus says to Andrews brother Peter, whom He correctly addresses
as "Simon the Son of John," that he will be called Cephas, which
is Aramaic for rock. The Greek Petras stands for Peter and for Rock. The New
Testament is written in Greek, with some lapses into Aramaic, which Jesus
spoke or something like that.
We see Peter called to follow Jesus in an incident that probably came a few
days later (Matthew 4:18-20). Reflect on those verses plus the next few and
you get a good picture of how Jesus trained His disciples. He did it on the
job, as they say, by walking around doing the ministry. Think of your own
experience, and, without criticizing anyone, I ask you to compare that passage
with your experience. I suggest we may have a weakness in the way we do church.
I say that as an ordinary faithful member of the church, and I dont carry
a single barb.
Yes, beloved, times were different, and Jesus congregation (or at least
the staff) was a body in action. Read this description: "And He went
about all Galilee [thats a big parish], teaching in their synagogues and
preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom [Ive talked about His subject matter
before], and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people. So
His fame spread throughout all Syria [thats good PR], and they brought Him
all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs,
epileptics, and paralytics, and He healed them. And great crowds followed
Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond
the Jordan" [he built a big church fast]" (Matthew 4:23-25).
That first church was a bit different, wasnt it? And it still hadnt become
a local church. Ive never seen another congregation do it that way, although
there was one in Connecticut that came close in its first days under a new
Of course, dont forget, the first church had an unusual leader. But we still
have the same leader or head of the church (Colossians 1:18), according to
book, and furthermore that book reports His having said: "He who believes
in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will
he do, because I go to the Father" (John 14:12).
At the same time the infallible book says, "I am with you always"
(Matthew 28:20). Thats why we will succeed. But maybe we should restudy "the
making of an apostle" as found with ol Peter.
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