How did this man who had so many weaknesses and obvious failings suddenly become courageous and fearless, and with an amazing concern for others?

Peter experienced many ‘ups and downs’ during his three years in Jesus Christ’s discipleship school. What was it that changed this fish merchant? What happened in his life to cause such a profound and visibly lasting transformation?

In his early days, Peter was a jumble of fears and confusions, like many of us, and Jesus Christ was the only person who could sort him out, and put together this jigsaw of a man.

If you had a question or a problem in the first century Church would it not be to the understanding Simon Peter you might turn?

Seven weeks after Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, on the day called Pentecost, Peter was baptised in the Holy Spirit by the risen Jesus, along with all the others, including Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Those observing what had happened laughed and mocked and ridiculed these anointed believers in Jesus.

A question arose – “What does this mean?” Many may still want to ask that question. It was Peter who arose to answer the enquirers, explaining what God was doing. He is different now. The ‘big fisherman’ stands and addresses what appears to be a hostile crowd.

We have a detailed account of what he preached on that occasion. Many were convicted of their sin and suddenly wanted to do something, and Peter gave the vital reply. “Repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

No man can improve on what Peter said – a superb answer to a crucial question!

Following thirty years of faithful service in the front line of the Kingdom of God, Peter wrote two highly encouraging, motivating, and inspiring letters.

Over the years many have turned to these letters when circumstances became particularly challenging or arduous. The people to whom he writes have been through a time of severe persecution. Today we hear of persecution on a global scale.

Peter knew it was not easy for men and women to remain loyal and faithful to Jesus Christ – it is seldom easy.

These disciples of Jesus had suddenly become quite different. They were now in a different Kingdom – the Kingdom of God – and they were surrounded by a society, or culture, which treated them cruelly.

Peter is writing to people in need, and with needs. Scattered all over the Middle East, they were regarded as strangers, exiles, misfits or aliens, and unwanted.

Peter reassures those who were hurting that they had been chosen by God, and that they had been sanctified, or set apart for obedience to Jesus Christ, and that they had been sprinkled, or sealed, by the blood of Jesus Christ.

In the simplest and fullest sense they had been ‘born again’. Jesus had taught how that was, and is, essential. This principle remains unchanged.

There are certain days in our lives which we remember most clearly, and one such day must surely be when we were ‘born anew’.

Peter writes seeking to produce strong vigorous faithful disciples. “You are God’s people” was a favourite description for those who belonged to Jesus Christ.

When committed disciples of Jesus face tough times, this is an excellent letter to read. Embrace its teaching. Allow its truth to edify and garrison you. After all, it is the Word of God.

Peter started out preaching the Word of God and thirty years later this same transformed Peter is writing letters which became part of the inerrant authoritative authentic Word of God.

“Loving Father – our holy gracious God – we give thanks for those who have gone before us – inspiring us and teaching us – we give thanks for disciples like Simon Peter who overcame various weaknesses and flaws. You are a God who enables us to overcome and grow, develop and mature – we praise and worship You, in Jesus name. Amen.