Think About This: “The purpose of the Disciplines is freedom. Our aim is the freedom, not the Discipline. The moment we make the Discipline our central focus we will turn it into law and lose the corresponding freedom…. Let us forever center on Christ and view the Spiritual Disciplines as a way of drawing us closer to His heart.” ― Richard J. Foster
God’s Chosen Bookends
Posted on October 9, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Victory Call
The very first disciples Jesus called were Peter and his brother Andrew.
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:18-20
In my imagination I can smell the sea and the fish. I grew up being taught to fish starting at a very young age – we were taught to harvest the worms from the garden and to bait our own hooks. When one person in the boat had a fish on the line, we all had to get our lines out of the water to prevent tangling our lines – of course there were 8 of us in the boat (6 were kids)! Eventually Dad taught me to clean and fillet my catches too!
Peter and Andrew, the first to be called to follow Jesus, probably had rough hands, sunbaked skin and that rough fishy aroma that permeated their robes, sandals and skin. Not that they stood out in the crowd, fishing was a common occupation in their area.
Peter was an uneducated fisherman. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men… Acts 4:13
Paul, on the other hand was a highly educated, highly respected Jew.
I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. Acts 22:3
In my imagination, Paul had smooth hands, well- manicured nails, nicely trimmed beard, high-end robes and new sandals and rather than a fishy aroma, Paul probably wore a subtle, yet manly cologne.
This is all of course only in my sanctified imagination but the point being these two men, Peter and Paul, could not be more different. Peter was said to be somewhat impulsive and a little rough around the edges – sometimes he didn’t seem to think before he spoke. Paul was a learned man that was very direct and intentional in his speech, or at least in his writings.
Yet. They had this in common. They both were redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:4-6
In the aftermath of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, they were both called to preach the Gospel. Peter was called to preach to the Jews (circumcised) and Paul to the Gentiles (uncircumcised).
…they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles) Galatians 2:7-8
This picture came to mind: on one hand we have uneducated Peter the fisherman – gloriously redeemed and chosen by God, and on the other hand we have a highly educated teacher. I saw them as bookends of the gospel that shows that the gospel is for everyone – uneducated laborer and highly educated professional. Everyone fits on this continuum somewhere between Peter and Paul. By choosing these two men and entrusting them with the proclamation and spread of the gospel it’s as if God was saying – “If I can save Peter and I can save Paul—I can save ANYBODY!” The lack of education will not stop the power of the gospel – and the intellect will not stop the power of the gospel. I think we, and all our loved ones, fall in there somewhere.
May this picture encourage your heart today as you think about those around you that need Jesus.
Written by Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and is the Executive Director & CEO of Changed Choices, a Christian non-profit in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:24-25