When Jesus came into the reign of Caesarea Philippi, He asked his disciples who the people said He was. Peter said, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God” (Mt.16:16). Jesus blessed Peter and said, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Mt.16:18).
As a builder of the church and as an Apostle, Peter gives valuable advice to the elders of the church and the Christian community. He writes:
1. As a fellow elder he expresses the basic qualities of a good elder is to serve willingly, honestly and as an example. ‘Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by constraint, but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly, not as being Lords over those entrusted to you but being examples for the flock’ (1 pet. 5:2).
2. As a witness of the sufferings of Christ and partaker of the glory that will be revealed, Peter says that when the chief Shepherd Jesus Christ appears, the elders will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
3. Likewise he also advises the Christian community to submit to its elders, to be humble and to be vigilant against the schemes of the evil one. ‘Submit yourselves to your elders and be clothed in humility. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble’ (1 Pet. 5:5). He says, ‘Be sober and vigilant for the devil walks about like a roaring lion’ (1 Pet. 5:8). So resist the devil being steadfast in faith. By following this we enjoy the full enrichment of all His grace.
4. In his final message (2 Peter written just before his death) he encourages the believers to grow in grace. ‘Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ (2 Pet. 3:18).
We all face ups and downs in live, however we should never give up – Peter did not … here are few things we can learn from the life of Peter:
1. Do we realise what our calling is and take it up without hesitation? Just as Peter did when he left his net and followed Jesus, when Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
2. Do we believe and follow the word of God? Just as Peter did when he walked on the water when Jesus said, “Come”
3. Do we cry out to God to save us when fear grips our heart? Just as Peter did, when he started sinking.
4. Are we reluctant to accept the truth? Just as Peter did when Jesus spoke about His death and resurrection.
5. Do we make false promises? Just as Peter when he said, “Even if I have to die, I will not deny you”
If every Christian takes heed of the warnings, advices and promises given by Peter and also seen in his life, there is no doubt that churches will grow as Jesus said, “and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”.
Copyright © Dec 2006. Ida