Simon Peter is characterized by leaving his fishing business behind, to follow Christ. Jesus declared that He would specifically build His Church, through Peter—resulting in Peter’s ability to identify Jesus as Christ. This revelation had not been by Peter’s intelligence, or any other ability. As only God had revealed it to him—without considering any other quality (Matthew 16:18).
This particular understanding—revealed only by God—is what justified Peter’s membership into the Church that Jesus was talking about. What prevails in Christian world, is different from the criteria that distinguished the quality of information that Peter possessed.
Jesus said flesh and blood had not revealed what Peter saw in Jesus. Church groupings can assume outwitting each other—aiming at occupying the position that distinguished Peter from others. But what was revealed to Peter is unique, as could not be revealed by flesh and blood. This knowledge was God-given.
Peter’s response to Jesus’ question—concerning the identity of Jesus—ensured Peter being part of that Church, as envisioned by Jesus. It is not clear whether the other disciples had similar understanding or not. But this peculiar understanding, constituted what distinguished Peter from those of this world.
This understanding had not come to Peter by means of theological training. Even though familiar with the Jewish religion at the time, Peter did not need that religion, to acquire that understanding. The only information available to us, today, is that Peter had left his fishing business to follow Jesus—who then facilitated Peter’s understanding.
Of significance to us, today, is that Peter left his life-sustaining fishing industry to follow Christ. This type of following was different from those recorded as having followed, mostly out of curiosity. Such people—basically attracted by what they could get—were actually, discouraged from continuing to follow Christ:
“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes and even his own life, he cannot be my disciples’”(Luke 14:25-27) (ESV).
It is interesting to note that, instead of appreciating such huge crowds—as possibly subscribing to His cause—Jesus actually discouraged them. He essentially taunted such people for following without counting the costs (Luke 14:28-33).
Could this suggest that Jesus was a respecter of persons? The answer cannot be in the affirmative. The purpose of Jesus was to die for humanity—not just the twelve, necessarily. But following Jesus—with justifiable reasons for doing so, is more prudent than following blindly—out of mere curiosity.
Peter was one of the twelve disciples—having left everything, after being called to follow Jesus. Their sustainable information was maintained in understanding that Jesus was the Christ. This explicit group of twelve disciples constituted what was specifically necessary to establish the foundation of that Church.
There were other people who followed Jesus. But not necessarily having been called, similarly to how the twelve were called, though certain of who Jesus was. However, those people appear as having been crafted with peculiar wisdom. Jesus described such people as sons of peace (Luke 10:6). See [The enigmatic sons of peace represent truth].
Such people are in the same category as one described in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Another of such people is the Centurion described in (Luke 7:6-10) and that woman who washed Jesus’ feet at Bethany (Matthew 26:6-13). They were various others, like Lazarus—as described in the parable of Lazarus and rich man (Luke 16:19-31).
Elsewhere, Jesus indicated that it was possible for tax collectors and prostitutes to get into God’s Kingdom ahead of believers (Matthew 21:31). All these portray examples—showing that God is not a respecter of persons. Foolishness is in assuming that being inducted among Jesus’ disciples in this life, guarantees one to be regarded favourably, ahead of others (Matthew 20:1-16).
This information disabuses those assuming that a Christian is entitled to being regarded as senior, at Christ’s second-coming. Most of Christ’s teachings were focused on one simple datum: All are equal, in God’s eyes(Matthew 23:8-12). The existing confusion is embraced in failure to appreciate this simple datum. See [The Phenomenon of denominationalism in Christianity].
Whoever Christ calls, for whatever reason, does not make that person special, in any way. The calling of Peter and his colleagues does not make them special, in any way. God is Creator of all things, including the entire humanity. The unequivocal declaration—insisting creating humanity in God’s own image—should practically be taken as Law (Genesis 1:26-27).
This is the basis—the understanding of which—all Christians can be redeemed from the damnable falsehood. The misunderstanding of this passage of Scripture in Genesis 1:26-27 is the real cause of all confusion in Christianity.
My assumption—in categorically stating this—is justified in that any person, acknowledging Jesus, desires being bona fide Christian. However, that person would be in total confusion, as long as misunderstanding what is written in Genesis 1:26-27. This highlights the confusions associated with denominationalism.
The mission of Jesus is to bring humanity to the original state—as was at the beginning—as described in Genesis 1:26-27. This, cancels out any notion that there is anyone—living or dead—being assumed better, or worse than the purpose for which one was created.
When God declared that Peter’s understanding would be the basis of building His Church, He did not imply Peter’s superiority over others. Flesh and blood had not revealed this to Peter, as to enable him to feel superior. There was no need for Peter to study Theology, in order to understand this, as it was God given.
However, this information removes a person from the level of ordinary humanity, placing him/her at the level of Jesus (Matthew 11:11). But what does it mean to be at the same level with Jesus? Humanly speaking, to be at the same level with Jesus cannot be an advantage, but physically, a great disadvantage.
“….You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28) (ESV).
Jesus implies that, supposing Peter became first to understand, as indicated in Matthew 16:18, he would bear his friends’ burdens (1 John 3:16). This is just as Jesus—as responsible for establishing the apostolic group—carried humanity’s burdens (John 3:16).
It could, therefore, not have necessarily been an advantage for Peter to be enlightened ahead of others. This could be one of the reasons why Jesus specifically emphasised what appeared as important mandate to Peter:
“……‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ He said to him a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep’”(John 21:15-17) (ESV).
What could have been the significance of instructing Peter three times, that he should feed Jesus’ flock? Except the reality of Peter having been enlightened ahead of others? This was an extremely significant message to the person regarded as trailblazer in this new way of life.
While Peter is identified as trailblazer, among his compatriots, others are expected to do likewise. This does not necessarily mean submitting to Peter’s authority, necessarily. This is clarified in Jesus’ subsequent dialogue with Peter:
“’Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch our your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.’ (This he said to show by what kind of death Peter was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’” (John 21:18-19) (ESV).
“Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!’ So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’”(John 21:20-23) (ESV).
The context of the dialogue suggests that Peter was not necessarily treated warmly, when compared with his colleagues. However, among them, Peter appears as expected to carry a heavier burden, without necessarily sharing that burden with anyone. Peter would simply follow the example of Christ, avoiding exercising authority over others (Matthew 20:25-28).
This is particularly clarified by Jesus when answering Peter’s question: “Lord, what about this man?” In other words, among the disciples, none among them was to be subservient to Peter. Each would be expected to carry their own respective crosses as following Jesus (Luke 14:27).
Jesus was to remain as the one regarded as the only authority. Jesus had been aware of the pattern, describing the rulers of this world—exercising authority over those under them. But the disciples were not to behave similarly. Each Christian would be expected to stand on His own before Jesus. Obviously, this destroys authoritarian leadership in Christianity.
The most important aspect in this revelation is that Peter’s enlightenment, does not take into consideration, educational abilities. It is directly revealed by God. “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you”(Matthew 16:18). Who could be so foolish as to seek being esteemed for things revealed by God?
Conversely, it is honourable to be ill-treated for things revealed by God, as perfectly ascribed by the writer of this passage of Scripture—John. “(This he said to show by what kind of death Peter was to glorify God.)”(John 21:19) (ESV). Certainly, being discredited on things revealed by God is another way a person can glorify God. See [The only time a Christian should be depressed].
Deciding to leave everything connected with this world, to follow Christ, is commonly regarded as most dishonourable. However, the decision has got nothing to do with what other people suggest.
Following Jesus is a personal decision that qualifies a person to directly relate with God—disregarding other people’s opinions. Nevertheless, it disconnects a person with his/her own relatives and friends. What the person sees, relates to him/her alone, without necessarily receiving influence from anyone.
Others may take comfort in ill-treating that person, due to not appreciating the actual being—dominating in the life of that individual. That is exactly what should make that person comfortable—as to know that he/she would be glorifying God (Matthew 5:10-12). This revelation can certainly not be understood by those hooked in Trinitarian theology.
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. In other words, in Jesus we have the significance of what true Christianity implies. Jesus, as Son of Man, was also Son of the living God, in whom His Father existed. God dwelt in Jesus, as to qualify Him to declare that anyone who had seen Him had seen His Father.
Having received the revelation that Jesus (Son of Man) was God’s Son, Peter became one of the pioneers, in whom God would similarly dwell. In other words, if Jesus, (Son of Man) was God’s Son, anyone holding Peter’s revelation would also potentially qualify to become God’s Son.
But, it is not possible to be God’s Son, when still connected to the things of this world. This is why Jesus declared: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes and even his own life, he cannot be my disciples’”(Luke 14:25-27) (ESV).
Of course, this is not acceptable to the fainthearted ones. But it projects being a true follower of Christ. I suppose there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of Christianity for personal benefits in this life. But I regard it as folly, to describe oneself as ‘Christian’ when not fully grasping what true Christianity implies.
The easier way of understanding this teaching is to first appreciate what Sabbath-keeping entails. A person having grasped the significance of Sabbath-keeping can easily understand the significance of following Christ. See [The Seventh-Day Sabbath is a sign of God’s Kingdom].
I have always insisted that Christianity is not an occupation that a person engages in, for lacking other things to do. Christianity is the thing to do, for one’s entire life. There are Church ministers—in conformity with what goes on in this world—declaring that they would retire from pastoral services. They go on pension and feel good—having been at Lord’s service. I feel sorry for them.
God can only be glorified by sacrificing one’s physical body, allowing Him to do what He wills with that physical body. It is only God who can retire that person, by means of physical death. Bear in mind that true followers of Christ left everything, including their own families, to be at Christ’s service. The only incapacitation that retires a true Christian from God’s service is physical death.
But I have good news for the potential followers of Christ. “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”(Matthew 11:28-30) (ESV).
Sacrificing everything in this life for Jesus, can certainly not be anything to mourn and regret about. In Jesus there is rest for our souls. Of course we lose everything connected with this life, but we obtain eternal rest, as promised by the author of Christianity. See [Christianity is a full time commitment for the baptized].
Jesus initiated a mission, for the sole purpose of saving humanity. Having physically left the scene, at the first century—Jesus still needs the physical bodies of humanity—to manifest Himself through them. Those people would not be expected to do anything, except to allow Jesus to operate in their lives.
Greater things, accomplished by them in their lives, reveals the greatness of Jesus. There is no need for anyone to feel superior or inferior, when compared with others. It would be Christ working in those people’s lives.
The deception of all time has always been assumption that there are structural rankings in Christianity. This is like saying God is inferior in one person and superior in another? How can such silly thinking glorify God?
Of course, there are positions in Christianity, as determined by Christ. But that does not mean that such positions have to be abused—when seeking own personal glory, ahead of Jesus. This is just as Paul admonished us:
“For by grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned”(Romans 12:3) (ESV).
While I could give a lot of credit to Theologians—learning much from them—I find it difficult to maintain my admiration for them. This is due to what I consider as misleading people against the aspect of God being one revealing what flesh and blood cannot reveal. People have the propensity to lose track—focusing on what Theologians say, rather than what Jesus taught.
Our stable datum is Jesus—directly responsible for revealing the mysteries of God’s Kingdom. I would advise anyone reading these postings, to examine everything according to what the Bible teaches, rather than focusing on crediting the author. Any reader, finding these postings projecting what Jesus taught, should, accordingly seek communication with Jesus.
What Jesus desires to do with that person, is solely according to the purpose of that person’s calling. However, this does not preclude anyone desiring to source advice or further information from the author. We remain at God’s service, for those desiring more understanding and direction.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99