Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. To those who through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
2 Peter 1:1-4
How do you describe yourself? It’s a big question and is no doubt answered in different ways in different situations. This is not to be dishonest for we have to be selective as to which aspects of our being we bring forward as most relevant at a given time. For example what we put on a CV relating to a specific job application will be different to what we might put on a Facebook profile. But are there some parts of our self-description which , although we might not use them in every situation, are nonetheless absolutely central to who and what we are.
Peter gives us a very succinct example as he identifies himself at the start of his second letter which is the text for our devotions for the next two or three days.
He is Simon Peter – a unique individual with a unique history and a real person. Our names do many things. They link us to family, they link us to others, and God knows those who are his by name!
But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43.1
But note especially how Peter goes on – a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ.
His name is important but it is these words that define him first and foremost in his relationship to Jesus Christ.
He is a servant, a slave, or bondservant. Detach yourself from the obsession that some people have with slavery at the present time and see this description in the biblical sense of one totally committed to a master. This is not, in Peter’s understanding a grovelling, subservient position of fear but one of joyful submission in all things, to the one who has done everything for him. The one who restored him after his threefold denial and blessed him with a new threefold commission at that breakfast barbeque. (John 21).The one who emboldened him to preach on the day of Pentecost to such powerful effect.
That preaching was done in the power of the Holy Spirit, promised by Jesus and fulfilled at Pentecost, and as an Apostle – in its strictest sense being understood as a witness of the resurrection.
However although these special situations are peculiar to Peter there is a real challenge to us, 21st century believers to see ourselves as he saw himself, as slaves (totally committed to the one who has done everything for us) and as apostles ( bearing witness to the resurrection which we know in experience but did not see with our own eyes as Peter did.)
Over the next few days we will explore some of the blessings that God has lavished on us which should make us want to describe ourselves as Peter does – a servant (slave) and apostle of Jesus Christ.