“I tell you that you are Peter. And I’ll build my church on this rock. The gates of the underworld won’t be able to stand against it.” Matthew 16:18 CEB
When Peter was called to come and follow Jesus I don’t believe he had any idea about that with which he would be getting involved. It could be that he thought this new Rabbi saw something in him that no one else had. Maybe Peter was just up for a new adventure. Perhaps Peter was tired of fishing every day. Whatever the reason, Peter dropped what he was doing and followed Jesus. Peter followed as Jesus turned water into wine. Peter followed as Jesus healed lepers, gave sight to the blind, healed a woman that no one else could for decades, and threw demons into swine. Peter followed Jesus through moments of intimate prayer and conversation. Peter was taught by Jesus when it was just Jesus and the twelve. Peter truly followed. Peter went all in when Jesus said, “Come and follow me, and I will teach you how to fish for people.”
Then in a way of testing His disciple’s understanding of all that they have seen and heard, Jesus asks them who people are saying that he is. They answer some are saying John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others are saying Jesus is Jeremiah or another prophet. Jesus says to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon answers first saying, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Peter had been paying attention. All of Jesus’ teachings had paid off and rubbed off on Peter. He realized exactly who Jesus was and was able to articulate his thoughts clearly. Jesus tells Peter that he is right and could have only come to that conclusion by divine revelation. Peter gets it and because of this Jesus declares, “I tell you that you are Peter. And I’ll build my church on this rock.” As you most likely know, the Greek word for Peter is petra, which means rock. Jesus says that Peter will be the foundation of the church that Jesus will build. If you fast forward to Acts chapter 2 you can begin to see what Jesus meant. Peter went fishing in Acts chapter 2 and caught 3,000 people with one message.
What is so important about this story in Scripture? Two things are important: 1) Peter confesses Jesus Christ as Lord, the Messiah, and 2) Jesus says He will partner with Peter to build His church. Jesus tells Peter that He will build His church on his witness and leadership. When we jump to Acts we see that Jesus did just that. Jesus was Peter’s fishing buddy that day and every day after. Jesus is the best fishing buddy for which Peter could ever ask. It is amazing to see Peter, after receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, put into action all the things that Jesus had taught him and positioned him to do. All because Jesus was his fishing buddy. The best buddy he, or you and I, could ever have. The promise of Jesus is that He will never leave us alone (Matt 28:20). Jesus is the best fishing buddy anyone could ever have, and His church exists to partner with us in fishing as well.
So, will you fish? We know that followers of Jesus fish—it’s what we do. We also know that anyone who follows Jesus has a story to tell of how Jesus has transformed their life. We must trust God and be bold in sharing how our story intersects with the word of God. The simple question is will we fish? The Great Commission found at the end of The Gospel of Matthew commands us to go and fish. We must tell the story everywhere to everyone every time God presents the opportunity. The greatest news of all is that Jesus promises to be the best fishing buddy ever! It is Jesus who teaches us to fish, it is Jesus who partners with us as our fishing buddy, and it is Jesus who builds the church to support our fishing expeditions. Jesus is asking all of us to come follow Him and fish for people. So, GO FISH! May the words of Acts 5:14 come true as we go on our fishing expeditions – “Indeed, more and more believers in the Lord, large numbers of both men and women, were added to the church.”
This Sunday we conclude the message series Go Fish. Next Sunday we will start a message series on 1 Timothy entitled Influence where we will discuss the various ways we can help each other, and the community, deepen their faith in Jesus through our influence. I hope you will join us this week and every week. The best is yet to come at St. Andrew’s and I can’t wait to see you in church!