Boletim dos Obreiros

The Admirable Encounter

We have found the Messiah
(John 1:40 - 42)

The first encounter of Peter with Jesus no doubt made a deep impression on him. Normally, the first encounter always impresses people and many of them, throughout their existence, never forget the details of their first encounter.

Peter, taken by his brother Andrew, went to meet Jesus. Andrew, an experienced fisherman, had on this day come across one of the greatest discoveries in his life: he discovered the Messiah and took his brother Peter to meet Him.. “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:40 - 42).

The Word of God says that Jesus looked at Peter: “Now when Jesus looked at him”. The first impression in the life of Peter, no doubt, was the look of Jesus, the same look that followed him during his ministry, and why not, until the end of his life?

That day the look of Jesus marked the beginning of a great friendship, attracting into His conviviality this uncultivated man, accustomed to the life of the sea, the fishing, the nets, the boats.

Peter allowed himself to be attracted by the Jewish stranger, simply placing all his faith in the statement of his brother Andrew, that He was the Messiah. This was best and the most surprising discovery in his life.

As if the magnetism of the look of Jesus were not enough, His first step was to change the name of Peter, until then called Simon. Jesus, the omniscient God, He who knows all, knew his origin: “You are Simon, son of Jonah; you shall be called Cephas”. This name comes of the Syrian-Aramaic - Kephas - that is translated into Greek as Petros, which means “a piece of rock”.

Beside the penetrating look of Jesus, the change of his name impressed him deeply. Until then all knew him as Simon, son of Jonah. He was already a mature man, bred in Bethsaida (house of fish), on the edge of the Sea of Galilee. There he was a partner in a fishery business (Luke 5:10), and owned a house where he lived with his mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14), so in the middle of his life his name was changed.

The change of names in the Holy Scriptures always indicates a new relationship with God. Thus it happened with Abram who began to be called Abraham; Sarai became Sarah, Jacob was named Israel. And Simon has the privilege to have his name changed, as well as the great men of the Old Testament, certainly well known to him.

This encounter of Peter marked a new relationship with Jesus. It would be the start of a great friendship that soon would be transformed into an unconditional love, as we discover in the Holy Scriptures.

How good it would be if everybody had the same encounter that Peter had, in these days so marked by stingy experiences, mediocre spiritual lives, without any gladness and joy in the presence of the Lord.

Peter would not be the same man any more after that encounter. No doubt, his decision to follow Christ was not easy. Later he could state: “See, we have left all and followed You” (Mathew 19:27). The “all” of Peter was a work’s life: the fishery, the house acquired in Capernaum, belongings hoarded throughout years of difficult toils.

What a lesson of great importance this man has left throughout the centuries. An encounter, a look, a change of name, the attraction of the Messiah announced for so long, were the motives that deeply touched his heart.

How much do we lack to be able to imitate Peter! Especially in days where there are so many apprehensions, where material things are placed first, where personal interests are placed above those of the Spirit. We need to make an evaluation of our priorities and to place the Saviour in first place. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33). That was exactly what Peter did.

What do we lack for a coherent attitude toward the Lord Jesus? We do not find Him today walking along the beaches of Galilee, or living next to our home. He wants to make a home in our heart, he wants our friendship and our love, he wants to change our name and to turn us into winners, as he did with Peter.

What we lack to get all this is readiness and faith in our heart. The same that Peter had on that magnificent day, for, based only on the information of his brother Andrew, he trusted that Galilean without reserves, who was in fact the blessed Messiah foreseen centuries earlier. There was no doubt, no distrust, for the Messiah spoke with such authority that His words transmitted power and life. This was the new life that Peter needed so much.

Today the message of Jesus is the same. It transforms, it gives life and power. But it does not only depend on Him. You and I must trust without reserve, look with the eyes of faith in the eyes of Jesus and let Him deal with all our being.

It is proved that the encounter of Jesus with Peter radically transformed all his life, his habits, his day-by-day, his projects. Peter became a new man, in spite of the difficulties found along the way.

Who knows the sincerity and the unshakeable faith of Peter will serve as an incentive to the dear reader, who so much needs a change in life, projects, yearnings, and hope. And all this and much more is possible to be found in the sublime person of Christ. He has inexhaustible resources. He knows how to dry our tears, to correct our imperfections, to firmly hold our hand, and to take us tightly and safely in His arms. What an admirable Saviour!

As He did with Peter, He will do to all who desire His friendship, His love, His blessing.

Peter became a great servant of Christ because he trusted the Lord Jesus without reserves. His place in the Holy Scriptures points the place of the redeemed man, who even covered with failures and imperfections, attains the favour of Christ, who places him in the celestial places.

Throughout his life, Peter remained firm in his faith. That experience of the first encounter and so many others impressed him deeply, for about forty years later, when writing to Christians afflicted because of their faith, he affectionately remembers one of the most emotive experiences with Jesus: “we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honour and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’." (2 Peter 1:16 - 18).

Let us imitate Peter in his unconditional love for Christ. It is certain that our experiences with Him will follow us all our lives, and the daily fellowship with Christ will, like it did to Peter, make us “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18).

To Him be the glory, both now, as in the everlasting day!