My Hebrew name was Simon. The Lord changed that name to Cephas after I encountered Him; Which means a rock. This name translated to English is Peter! Peter; That is the name I was familiar with while walking with the Lord. My old name was left behind and a new man with it was emerging within me. That is one of the many promises for all those who choose to walk with the Lord!
Yes, I was impulsive! Yes, I was short-tempered! Yes, I was stubborn! Little did I know that The Lord would use all these strengths that I had turned into disadvantages to build me up and to build His church! Cephas means a rock. And He told me that on this rock, He would build His church!
From that first day He called me to follow Him, and told me He was to make me and the others fishermen of men, to this moment in time that would change me forever, I had a broken sense of understanding over what was going on. He kept speaking in terms that at times I thought I understood but most of my understanding was in human terms.
One of those times I felt I could really understand was when He asked me who I though He was and I said: “You are the Christ; The son of the living God” After I said this Jesus said to me, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven(Matthew 16:17-19)
That Statement went over my head at this time and more so after I denied Him! Me, having the keys for the Kingdom of heaven? This awkward fisherman with no proper education? This weak man who had faith to initiate walking on water but could not make it due to doubt?
You see, I thought I knew Him! I thought I knew He was going to conquer and rescue Israel at this time! I loved Him but did not understand His speech sometimes! It made me upset when He would say He was going to die for humanity! I was ready to defend Him! This could not be true that we would be defeated this way! He was to be our King!
He rebuked me for I was not thinking about the good of the world but my good! One time He even called me Satan! Me, Satan? All I wanted was for Him to be protected! He felt I was trying to stop God’s plan for Him; for the world. This day, I was at my lowest point. It had been an awful night! They had arrested my Master and He had rebuked me for trying to defend Him! Yes, I did! I pulled my sword out and cut the ear of one of his attackers!
He turned around and ordered me to put my sword aside. He healed his attacker and subdued to their arrest. I was so confused! I was angry! at myself? at Him? at them? perhaps at all of it! This was not supposed to be this way! I followed to see what was to become of Him!
Before I tell you of what else went on that night, I have to tell you that previously, The Lord had also said to me that Satan was asking for permission to sift me like wheat. He also told me that He had prayed for me so that I would have a strong faith to overcome it, to conquer and strengthen my brothers. He kept emphasizing and modeling prayer as a weapon of war!
Why would Satan sift me like wheat? You see, It is not till after these happenings and the Lord’s resurrection to life that I understood! This is why when I wrote the books of Peter, In them, I am giving you instructions on how to conquer and defeat Satan. This world is under Satan’s dominion. It takes for you to hold on to The Lord; Pray, build on your faith and strengthen it to conquer his tactics and after you do so, strengthen your brothers and sisters.
I wrote to you in 1st Peter 5:8-14 To be of sober spirit, to be on the alert. Because your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
This day after The Lord was arrested, I was in the darkness. I was under attack by the enemy of my soul and of your soul. He was telling me this man Jesus could not be my savior, my king! That my time was wasted! I was nobody! I was a joke, a looser, a hopeless dreamer! an angry man! His intentions were to destroy me.
The Lord had said to me that by the time the rooster was to crow, I would have denied Him three times. The first time, I was sitting among those who had The Lord and I couldn’t hide too well for they had lit a fire and a servant girl recognized me. I sternly denied Him. I couldn’t let them think that I was his follower! Just like you do at times, I did it myself! Me, the rock! The “so-called holder of the heavenly keys”
This happened two more times and I denied Him as well. As I denied Him for the third time, the rooster crowed. The Lord looked at me and It was then I remembered His words! it was then I realized the depth of the temptation I was in. His words brought me to tears but also brought me back to Him! I knew He wasn’t searching for someone to defend Him but for someone to join His cause! for someone to love others just as He was loving them!
His fight was to be my fight! That night, evil thought it to be winning, but to the contrary! As they mocked Him, tortured Him, blindfolded Him and were demanding Heavenly actions on command; Therefore blaspheming God, God’s Ultimate plan of redemption was on its way. It was not the way I, Simon could envision it but it was the perfect plan of God!
I, Peter, joined His fight! I, Peter became a pillar; a rock, to build His church! His church is His body which is you; The body of believers. He is the head and you the church are the body. Together, you hold the keys of the Heavenly kingdom! That is why He told me I was to hold those keys.
Hear me out! You think you are nothing? so did I. You think you are lost? so did I. You think you are not enough? so did I. You, my friend, together with the Master, together with me, hold the keys of heaven when under His command! When under His guidance! Hold his hand. Listen to his voice and follow His lead. Today is the day of Salvation! don’t wait and don’t let Satan blind you any longer! You too are to be a vessel of deliverance if you just let Him use you!
Other Scriptures for this reading: Luke 22:31-32, Matthew 14:29-31, books of first and second Peter.