Peter led by the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God
Rock-solid leaders are needed during transitions from an old to a new culture. Simon from Bethsaida (neck of the entrance to the western coast of the Sea of Galilee; Easton’s Bible Dictionary, olivetree.com) was such a leader. He was the younger brother of Andrew and first cousin of James and John, sons of Zebedee and Salome, with whom he worked a business of harvesting fish from the Galilee (ibid). This was an appropriate discipline for the mission of harvesting souls for God, for which Peter was born and to which Jesus called him (Matthew 4.19; Jeremiah 1.5; Judges 13.1-12; John 3.27). We might say, likewise, that King David and Moses were prepared by leading sheep for leading, similarly willful, people for and to God.
Easton’s Dictionary identifies some distinctive characteristics that made Peter a rock-solid leader.
“’Simon was a Galilean, and he was that out and out…The Galileans had a marked character of their own. They had a reputation for an independence and energy which often ran out into turbulence. They were at the same time of a franker and more transparent disposition than their brethren in the south. In all these respects, in bluntness, impetuosity, headiness, and simplicity, Simon was a genuine Galilean. They spoke a peculiar dialect. They had a difficulty with the guttural sounds and some others, and their pronunciation was reckoned harsh in Judea. The Galilean accent stuck to Simon all through his career.’” (ibid).
Simon’s name, also, evidences his preparation for harvesting souls, for it is short for Simeon which means “‘hearing’” (ibid). Jesus acknowledges and emphasizes this in His dialogue with the disciples at Caesarea Philippi about His reputation among the people (Matthew 16.13-20). When Jesus narrowed the query to them, Peter boldly confessed Jesus as Messiah! He had heard what distinguishes between the saved and lost (John 3.16, 14.6; 1 John 4.1-3; 1 Corinthians 12.1-3). Importantly, he heard this from God! Jesus, also, calls him to “hear” His call to “‘Feed My sheep’” (John 21.15-19Jeremiah 23.4).
Jesus’ nicknaming Simon “Cephas, an Aramaic name corresponding to the Greek Petros”, explains the distinguishing element of this new culture—confessing Jesus is Lord(Romans 10.8-13). Petros means “‘a mass of rock detached from the living rock’” (ibid). Christianity was birthed in Judaism, with God at the Head of His people (Deuteronomy 7.7-8; Exodus 19.6). Jesus is our Head and “chief Cornerstone” (Isaiah 28.16; Matthew 28.43-44; 1 Peter 2.8; Ephesians 2.19-22 1.22-23).
Peter’s ‘stone’ was his confession, “You are Messiah” (Matthew 16.16-18). Firstly, confessing “Jesus is Lord” is the stone that breaks down the gates of philosophies and “traditions of men” hat oppose Christ (Colossians 2.8-10; Mark 7.9; Daniel 2.27-45). It is the “mass” under acceleration (definition from Apple dictionary) that is directed at the feet of Implicit Assumptions of a man-made, artificial, secondary culture (Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture, 1951, p. 32) Secondly, it is the pronouncement that “‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’’ (Matthew 10.7)! When this is received by someone with like faith (John 1.12), Jesus instructs to prove it (Matthew 10.8; Luke 10.1-9, 17-20Mark 16.15-20; Ephesians 2.10)!
We see Peter ‘proving it’ in the chapters of the Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles beginning in Acts 3.6-7 which Peter explains in verse 16(specific instance) and Acts 4.12 (exemplary of the potential ‘salvation’ contained in the name ‘Jesus’).
Perhaps, Peter is remembering the “Gates of Hell” where Jesus asked and he answered, “You are Messiah [Anointed, Lord]”, thereby throwing a “mass” at the deceptions of Molech and philosophies of the rabbis of Judaism (Matthew 16.16-18; Revelation 12.11). Peter was, even, willing to stand against the traditions ofhis community, which could not save anyone eternally or temporally, and to proclaim light into the darkness of satan’s deceptions (Acts 2.38-39; 4.19-20, 29-31; 5.41; 8.18-23; 9.22-35, 36-42; 11.15-17; 15.6-11). Notice that Peter confronted the darkness of traditional Jews and, when needed, the darkness with which satan tried to divide the leaders of the young church. Peter was rock-solid!
Let me remind you how the Acts of the Holy Spirit fit into the Kingdom of God. I believe that God created mankind to take the earth back from satan’s destructive hands (Revelation 12.7-12). The earth was void and “darkness” (of satan) was on the face of the deep (Genesis 1.2a). Mankind fell for a piece of fruit (Genesis 3.1-5), but God had a plan for redeeming man and for destroying satan’s works (1 John 3.8; Jeremiah 1.10; Acts 26.18).
The Holy Spirit of God, Who hovered above the face of the deep (Genesis 1.2b), (1) would save the lost (John 16.8-11) by convincing them of the sufficiency of Jesus’ blood shed for sin (John 3.16; Hebrews 10.11-14), (2) would mature the saved into the image of Jesus (Ephesians 4.11-13) for the use of His powerful Name (Philippians 2.9-13; Luke 10.17-19), and (3) would, through those redeemed, judge and destroy satan’s works (Mark 16.15-20). Jesus describes this in John 14.15-18 & 26, 16.13-15).
God chose Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, for producing a people through whom the Holy Spirit would do His work. God proves Jacob’s capabilities as a warrior in Genesis 32.28 and confers upon Jacob the name “Israel”, meaning “God strives” (Amplified Bible, 2015, olivetree.com). Thus, God would partner with Jacob’s progeny to wage war against satan (Exodus 3.6). After God’s ‘army’ had grown large while in Egypt, God lead them to freedom and the conquest of aberrant interlopers in the land promised to Abram (Genesis 13.14-17; Judges 3.1-4).
But, when God called them to service in His spiritual ‘army’, they refused (Exodus 19.6). So, God chose the followers of Jesus to follow Him into His battles (1 Peter 2.9; Ephesians 6.12; 2 Corinthians 10.4-6). This is what God described to Nicodemus in John 3.1-8, explaining the Holy Spirit’s “signs” through Jesus in John 2.23. We see the Holy Spirit doing the same through Peter in the examples above.
Rock-solid leaders are needed during transitions from an old to a new culture. Peter was this kind of leader. We will see this through Philip and Paul in coming weeks. God’s words in Joshua 1.9 remain true for leaders today. Are you ‘rock-solid’ for the cultural transitions of the contexts into which the Holy Spirit has thrust you? He’s depending upon you. “Be strong and courageous!”
Peter Led By The Holy Spirit 190901-08 (* = update)
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2019 www.sozoclass.com.