Get in Line – Get in Step
I can’t think of a better documented example of Jesus’ faithfulness to an individual, than Peter. Peter was a disciple. A disciple is a learner, follower, an apprentice. It is someone who seeks to know and gives full life attention to their Rabbi (Teacher/Mentor). Within the Jewish culture in Jesus’ day, (and some aspects continue today) there was a whole process of life discipleship. Discipleship (in general) was designed in such a way that the student (or disciple-wanna-be) would seek out the Teacher and make a formal request to be their disciple. If the Teacher agreed to the request, (finding them worthy: family, status and education) they would then allow them to become their disciple. They were now chosen. The words, “Follow me” were spoken. The disciple was then required (it was not optional) to totally submit to the Rabbi’s authority in all areas of his life. The Rabbi’s teaching was therefore binding. Everything the disciple did or how he viewed things were all filtered through the Rabbi.
THEN. Jesus comes on the scene, turning everything upside down. There was no time for discipleship applications. The traditional format: Disciple sought out the Rabbi – but Jesus sought out the disciple. THE Rabbi, calling not the well-educated or those of high status – but fishermen (and the like). He said, “Follow Me.” These two words were discipleship terminology, meaning they were CHOSEN. Perhaps, this can be folded into the context of why Jesus said: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit…” (John 15:16a) What a most wonderful reality. Chosen.
Jesus calls Peter against tradition, “Follow Me…” (Mk 1:17a). In the original language, literally, “Come in behind me.” Get in line, get in step and focus on me. Peter, a spunky guy, with a sliver of rebel in him. He was the first to speak up (or out). He was the only one out of the boat (to swim to Jesus or attempt walking to Him). He was the sword swinging – in Jesus’ face guy. And, who ultimately denied his Rabbi.
But. Jesus knew. Jesus was faithful to Peter. He was the faithful Rabbi. He taught not only with words but lifestyle. He taught Peter what it meant to be a disciple. He taught him faithfulness. He taught Peter; He was Lord. Peter later wrote: “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” (1 Pet 3:15a, ESV). Peter was taught hope. Jesus also taught Peter how to die to self; describing himself, “Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ…” (2 Pet 1:1). Peter was a servant (doulos), one with a permanent servitude – his life altogether consumed with Jesus.
The last chapter of John (21) after the death and resurrection of Jesus, He is with the disciples. Singling out Peter, Jesus has the “Do you love Me?” conversation. His personal closing words to Peter were “Follow Me” (v19). Jesus started with “Follow Me” and ended with “Follow Me.”
Peter was a disciple.
Jesus, always the faithful Teacher – ALWAYS the faithful Lord. We too as His disciples are called to life learning. Our Great Rabbi’s teaching is binding. Everything we do or how we view things are all filtered through Jesus. His choosing is not only (but astonishing) for forgiveness of sins and eternal life, but also our lives are to be fruitful and productive in fulfilling God’s purposes.
May we continue to get in line, get in step and focus on Jesus, our faithful Teacher and faithful Lord.
We are His disciples.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)