“And I say also to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Matthew 16:18
In the Bible, Peter was one of the closest disciples of Jesus Christ. Whenever Jesus would go somewhere to pray or to reveal something special to just a select few, Peter was right there at the top of the list. And when Jesus left His earthly ministry, Peter was the head of the newly established church. Granted, Peter had his failings just as all people do, but the difference was that he kept pushing through them and came out better because of them.
Peter didn’t start out as being called Peter. His name was originally Simon, which actually means ‘hearer or listener’. Peter listened to Jesus and took His teaching to heart. Even when Jesus said that He was going to be offered up and die, Peter rebuked Him saying, “Not so Lord,” even though Christ had a larger plan that needed enacted. By all rights and accounts, Peter loved Jesus. He staked everything on Him. When Jesus asked His disciples if they would leave Him, it was Peter who said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of life.”
Not only did Peter believe in Jesus, but Jesus believed in Peter as well. Even though Peter in a moment of weakness denied that he knew Jesus 3 different times, Jesus knew that Peter was the right person to continue His earthly ministry. A little before Christ was taken up to Heaven, Jesus kept asking Peter if he loved Him. More than that, Jesus made sure that Peter would continue Christ’s work to take care of His people. Jesus asked Peter 3 times, “Do you love me?” And each time that Peter affirmed his love, Jesus would tell him to ‘feed His sheep or lambs’, meaning to take care of His people. Jesus knew that Peter could do it, but He really wanted Peter to know that Peter could do it. Three times a denial conquered by three times a confirmation.
One last thing about Simon Peter. Simon was the earthly name that his parents gave him. Peter was the Heavenly name that Jesus gave him. Simon means listener and Peter means rock. In order for you to be firm in your service of the Lord, you first need to listen to Jesus. Once you stand upon God’s solid foundation, you will never be lost again.