The life and ministry of Peter. (Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1 16-18; Luke 5:1-11
One of God’s aims in the Bible is to show us Himself: His attributes, attitudes and actions. Another is to show us ourselves. He calls the Bible a mirror in which we see ourselves as we really are and not how we think
we are. In the previous section we have spent a while looking at Jesus Christ from Mark’s gospel. Now we will look at Peter. I often see myself in him and I’m sure his life will mirror yours too in many ways.
In 1 Peter 3:15 Peter encourages Christians: ‘In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.’ How did he learn to do that? Can we do it in the same way? I believe the answer is a resounding ‘yes’.
Different details of the early encounters between Jesus and Peter are
given in the gospels. This reminds us that God graciously speaks to us
more than once. We are so slow in responding to His voice. God will speak
to you as you study these stories from Peter. Look for confirmation of
His voice in your own devotional times. Then act upon what you hear.
How can we begin to follow Jesus?
Let Jesus come to you where you are (Matthew 4:18)
Peter and Andrew were fishermen in the family business at Capernaum.
Jesus saw them going about their business as He was walking beside the
sea. You do not have to achieve anything before God will meet you. Not
one of us is too deep in sin to meet the Saviour. He wants to speak to you
about your work life – He is the Master consultant. He wants to speak to
you about your family life – He is the Master counsellor. He wants to
speak to you about your financial life – He is the Master controller. He
wants to speak to you about your personal life – He is the Master personal
Pride stops Him when you say, ‘I do not need any help.’ Preconceived ideas
stop Him when you say, ‘He cannot help me.’ Pretence stops Him when you
say, ‘He is helping me,’ when He is not and you know it. Let Him come to
you, where you are, right now.
Listen to Jesus’ call for you to follow (Matthew 4:19)
Fish markets and quaysides are not exactly quiet places! The water, the
men, the equipment and the sea birds combine to make a cacophony of
noise. Yet Peter heard Jesus’ call in the midst of it all.
He discerned it from all the clatter and the hubbub and he deliberately
tuned in when he heard someone calling from the shore. If he had not
done so, his life would have followed a completely different course. Why
is it that at Christian meetings God seems to speak to some and not to
others? It is because some are tuned in and others are switched off to
God’s wavelength. The devil will always feed your doubts. God will never
call you to do something against Scripture so you can test your call by the
Book. Are you listening to his voice?
Leave your old way of life (Matthew 4:20)
Peter followed Jesus. Some people follow football. I follow the London
team West Ham by looking up their results in the paper and, very
occasionally, by going to see them play. The real Hammer followers are
those who go and watch them play every game, wherever they are, and
however well or badly they are doing. Jesus wants the second type of
followers for Himself. He wants men and women to be with Him to watch
Him and to work with Him. He wants people to listen to Him, to learn from
Him and live for Him. Peter could not follow Jesus without leaving his
fishing boat, his friends and his family. He was learning to deny himself
daily and follow Jesus. Are you following the majority in this
materialistic world or are you following the Master?
The call to follow was accompanied by a challenge to Peter’s faith. ‘Do
you believe I can do something great with your life, Peter? I will make
you a fisher of men.’ In Peter’s future there would be valleys of defeat
and disappointment, but also peaks of ambition and achievement. God has
a plan for your life. Jesus says, ‘I will make you …’ Will you let Him make
you into what He wants you to be?
Remember, the rest of your life is just beginning.
Discussion guide for ‘Starting off with Jesus’
Bible reading Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-18; Luke 5:1-11
1. Jesus looked out for Peter and called him to “follow”, Matthew
4:19. Discuss what the word “follow” means?
What would Peter have understood by this request of Jesus?
2. Why did Jesus promise to make His disciples into “fishers of men”?
Discuss what Peter and the others may have understood by this?
3. Why is “leaving” a necessary part of “following”, verses 20, 22?
What happens if a person tries to follow without leaving?
4. If God is calling you to something you don’t feel you can do, what
part of Jesus’ call to Peter encourages you to go on, verse 19?
5. Make some time to listen to God by yourself. What do you believe
God is calling you to be and to do?