It’s a nickname, Peter.
He was Simon, but Jesus called him his rock, petros in Greek. So he became Peter.
Peter the rock, the foundation stone of the church. A church Jesus rooted in humanity rather than a physical location.
Peter the far from perfect. Not sharp-minded, educated sophisticated and educated like Paul, his fellow apostle. Not solid in faith , sinking while trying to walk on the water (Matt. 14.22-33). Not too high on loyalty or courage either – at the time Jesus needed him most he denied even knowing him.
So why him? Why is this, oh so fallible, human being chosen to be the foundation stone of the church?
Perhaps it was not because he was different from us, but because he was just like us.
Yet through knowing Jesus Peter is transformed. It takes the transfiguration, the crucifixion, the resurrection and the events of Pentecost to do it, but Peter is transformed – into a preacher whose testimony converts thousands, and whose leadership does, indeed, provide the foundation for the whole church.
This, then, is the model for our church.
This is the model for us.
Jesus did not select a bunch of perfect people as his disciples. They were as human and as fallible as we are. But they found when they truly trusted Jesus they were given what they needed to serve him. Remember the walking on the water story? When Peter becomes afraid, his faith waivers and he begins to sink, but when he reaches out for Jesus his hand is taken and he is lifted up.
When we are faced with those situations where we could share our faith but we are embarrassed, perhaps afraid of being sniggered at, we can always remember Peter. Not because he was strong, but because he was as weak and fallible as we are and found, when he reached out for Jesus, he was lifted up – transformed.
Peter came to know that if he put his trust in Jesus, he would never, ever be let down. And so it will be for us, if we can learn to trust as he did.
Rev. Peter Wright