My dear Covenant Partners and GEM Family
There are two accounts of Peter being called by Jesus. In John 1: 40-42, Peter meets Jesus at the request of his brother, Andrew. Peter is about to find out that a profound transformation awaits him. Jesus changes his name from Simon to Peter, thus consecrating Peter, setting him aside for God and the spread of His reign. Jesus will share His life and love with Peter, and in return, Peter will be at his Master’s beck and call! In Luke 5, the call occurs within a life-altering encounter of Jesus. In the enormous catch of fish, Peter is overcome with awe and a profound sense of unworthiness. He exclaims that he is a sinner and is not worthy to be in the presence of Jesus, his Lord! Jesus tells Peter not to be afraid and gives him his call: “From now on you will be catching men” (Luke 5:10). Peter’s response to Jesus’ call is that he left everything and became His follower!
There were several special moments of grace inspired by the Holy Spirit during Jesus’ ministry. Peter received a powerful grace when he declared that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God. Jesus expressed amazement at Peter’s profession of faith in Him, and declared that He would build His church on Peter, the rock. After the Discourse on the Bread of Life, many of Jesus’ disciples abandoned Him because His teaching about the Eucharist was too hard to accept. Peter’s response was of the Holy Spirit: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6: 68-69).
There were other times when Peter acted out of fear, arrogance, and sin. He objected strongly to Jesus’ first prediction of His passion, death, and resurrection. Jesus’ reaction was strong: “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do” (Matthew 16:23). And yet Jesus would delegate Peter to act in His place, to do things that only God can do, like binding and loosing sin! One could spend hours pondering on the gaze between Jesus and Peter as he denied his Master. As this painful saga unfolded, Peter’s faith and commitment to his Master sunk into the dregs. In a jiffy, three years of discipleship careened toward disaster. Peter ended up cursing and swearing as he denied his Master in His very presence!
Slowly, in halting steps, Peter moved toward genuine humility in his discipleship. Even though he had denied his Master, Peter made his way to the Upper Room to be with the rest of the disciples, including Mary, mother of Jesus and the other women. After the resurrection, Jesus prepared Peter and the other disciples for the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit and their ministry to evangelize the world. Three times Jesus asked Peter whether he loved Him. Peter acknowledged honestly that he was not prepared to die for Jesus as he had boasted in the Upper Room. Oddly enough, Jesus made Peter the Head of His church and made a prediction: “…but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God” (John: 21:18-19). This generous and flawed disciple was slowly transformed by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit over several years of ministry. He asked his Roman executioners to crucify him upside down as he did not deem himself worthy of dying like his Master! God bless you! You are in our daily prayers!